A Full-Fledged Boycott Of The Beijing Olympics Is Being Promoted

 

Groups claiming human rights violations against minorities in China are pushing for a complete boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, a measure that will certainly increase pressure on the International Olympic Committee, players, sponsors, and sports federations.

An alliance representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong citizens, and others released a statement Monday calling for the boycott, rejecting alternative interventions such as “diplomatic boycotts.” “and further talks with the International Olympic Committee or China.

“The time for dialogue with the IOC has passed,” Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview. “This cannot be business as usual with the World Olympic Committee or the international community.”

The Beijing Games are scheduled to begin on Feb. 4, 2022, just six months after the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which have been delayed.

Rights activists have met with the IOC many times in the last year, urging the IOC to withdraw the games from China. Zumretay Arkin of the World Uyghur Congress was a central participant in those discussions.

Tethong was arrested and exiled from China in 2007 — a year before the Beijing Summer Olympics — for spearheading a pro-Tibet movement.

“The situation is demonstrably worse now than it was then,” Tethong said, noting that the IOC had stated that the 2008 Olympics would boost China’s human rights situation. “If the games are held, Beijing will get international validation for its actions.”

The boycott call comes a day before a joint meeting of the United States Congress on the Beijing Olympics and China’s human rights record, and only days after the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee stated that boycotts are unsuccessful and only harm athletes.

“People have worked in good faith to involve the IOC in order for them to learn the problems explicitly from those most affected — the Uyghurs at the top of the list, as well as the Tibetans and others, “Tethong said. “It is clear that the IOC is totally unconcerned about the real-world consequences for people.”

The IOC has stated consistently that it must maintain a “neutral” stance “and avoid politics. The Switzerland-based organization is effectively a sports company, earning about 75% of its revenue from the sale of television rights and an additional 18% from sponsors. Additionally, it has UN observer status.

“We are not a superpower,” IOC President Thomas Bach recently said.

China’s foreign ministry has condemned “football politicization” and declared that any boycott would be “doomed to failure.” China has dismissed genocide charges against the Uyghur people.

According to a new US State Department study, “genocide and crimes against humanity” have occurred against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities in the western province of Xinjiang in the last year.

Tethong acknowledged that she is aware that certain athletes might be opposed. However, she stated that those who benefited from the Black Lives Matter campaign may become allies. She recognized this as a “gloves-off” experience “at the moment.

“Obviously, there are a lot of people who care about the athletes and their lifetime work,” Tethong said. “However, the IOC is ultimately responsible for putting them in this situation and should be kept accountable.”

Mikaela Shiffrin, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, summed up the athletes’ question in a recent CNN interview.

“You definitely do not want to be forced to chose between human rights such as morality and the ability to perform your work “‘ She said.

Tethong recommended coalition participants approach the IOC’s top 15 donors, American broadcaster NBC, which accounts for about 40% of total IOC income, sports federations, civil society organizations, and “anyone else will listen.”

Activists have also focused their attention on IOC sponsor Airbnb.

“First and foremost, there is the moral issue,” Tethong said. “Is it appropriate to host a sporting festival with universal goodwill, such as the Olympic Games, when the host country commits genocide only outside the stands?”

Activists claim that during meetings with the IOC, they requested to see the documentation in which China provided “assurances” regarding human rights conditions. According to activists, the IOC has failed to deliver the records.

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The IOC included human rights provisions in the host city contract for the 2024 Paris Olympics many years back but did not include them in the Beijing contract — the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Paris became the first Olympics to incorporate the criteria, which have been long advocated for by human rights organizations.

Last week, human rights organizations and Western nations led by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany accused China of systematic atrocities against the Uyghur minority and requested unhindered access for United Nations experts.

Barbara Woodward, Britain’s United Nations Ambassador, described the situation in Xinjiang as “one of the greatest human rights crises of our time” during the conference.

“The data indicates the existence of a campaign of repression directed at particular ethnic groups, “According to Woodward. “Religion-related expressions have been criminalized, and the Uyghur language and culture are subjected to systemic and widespread discrimination.”

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