Where’s the “Sportswashing” Outrage With Communist China?

Rory McIlroy China Communist PGA Tour
Rory McIlroy poses with the trophy after winning the WGC HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club on Nov 3, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird via Getty Images)

In case you haven’t heard: the authoritarian government of Saudi Arabia is said to be “sportswashing” its brutal image by passing around big money to tour golfers.

The definition of sportswashing is as follows: “a nation-state using a major or prestigious international sport to improve its reputation, through hosting a sporting event, the purchase or sponsorship of sporting teams, or by participation in the sport itself. At nation-state level, sportswashing has been used to direct attention away from a poor human rights record and corruption scandals within local government. Sportswashing has been called a form of whitewashing.”

Tyrrell Hatton
Tyrrell Hatton tees off on No. 3 during the third round of the Saudi International at Royal Greens on Feb 6, 2021 in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

The Saudi International, a tournament funded by the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), has been a target of the sanctimonious and duplicitous members of the golf media for years. Now with the Saudis funding a breakaway golf tour, the outrage has reached next-level apoplectic.

One drama queen writer at Golfweek even suggested changing the name of the Greg Norman-hosted QBE Shootout to the QBE Dismemberment since the Saudi regime “prefers bonesaws to bullets.” Norman has been named the Saudi-backed tour’s commissioner.

(Note: Golfweek is owned by Gannett, publishers of USA Today. Gannett came under fire last year for accepting advertising from the Chinese Communist Party.)

Oddly, these same arbiters of morals seemingly had zero issues with the European Tour, PGA Tour and LPGA Tour teeing it up in Communist China for the past decade or so.

A general view during the pro-am prior to the start of the Buick LPGA Shanghai at Qizhong Garden Golf Club on Oct 17, 2018 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Zhe Ji via Getty Images)

To those unaware of the geopolitical landscape, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are modern-day Nazis, who make the Saudis look like low-rent chumps when it comes to atrocities.

Let’s start with the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century: Mao Zedong.

Under Mao’s reign, highlighted by the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, some 65 million Chinese citizens were reportedly killed, with millions more tortured and imprisoned.

And yet Mao remains the Chinese Communist Party’s most revered figure with thousands of statues dotting the communist country’s landscape.

Pilgrims arrive by bus to lay flowers and bow at the feet of a 118 foot statue of Mao Zedong. (Getty Images)

Would the PGA Tour tee it up in a Germany that celebrated Hitler this way? Of course not.

Yet, today, under the dictatorial rule of Xi Jinping – a neo-Maoist thug, the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour include annual treks to Shanghai, China for the WGC-HSBC Champions and Buick LPGA Shanghai, respectively, while the European Tour jets to Shenzhen for the annual Volvo China Open.

How evil is the current regime in relation to Mao? Last year, the United States officially accused China of committing “crimes against humanity,” which had “engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group.”

Uyghur Muslims pick cotton in China. (Getty Images)

Human rights’ abuses included: arbitrary imprisonment, forced sterilization, torture, forced labor and “draconian restrictions” on freedom of religion, expression and movement. Targeted minority (ethnic and religious) groups of the CCP include Falun Gong, Tibetans, and the Uighurs.

Yet, for some reason, the golf media is only outraged about Saudi Arabia.


  • China Celebrates Centenary of Communist Party That Killed Tens of Millions (Fox News)
  • Mao Zedong: Memorialized in 2,000 Statues (BBC)
  • China’s New Red Guards: The Return of Radicalism and the Rebirth of Mao Zedong (Financial Times)
  • China’s Oppression of Muslims in Xinjiang, Explained (NY Times)


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