Boycott pressure is mounting on the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to be canceled or moved over China’s genocide against minority populations.
Fueling it is the revelation that the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has finalized with the Communist country a broad waiver from having to follow basic human rights requirements that future cities like Los Angeles and Paris are being asked to follow in 2024 and 2028.
Human rights groups are joining forces, representing Hong Kong, Tibet, and the ethnic Chinese minority Uyghurs and others. They issued a statement this week calling “all governments and people, including all National Olympic Committees and Olympic athletes” to boycott the 2022 Winter Games in China.
Around the world, critics are calling it a “genocide waiver” that allows China to continue concentration camps while all eyes are on Beijing.
“The Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uyghur people and waging an unprecedented campaign of repression in East Turkistan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia, as well as an all-out assault on democracy in Hong Kong,” the group called Boycott Beijing 2022 wrote.
“Participating in the Beijing Olympic Games at this time would be tantamount to endorsing China’s genocide against the Uyghur people, and legitimizing the increasingly repressive policies of the totalitarian Chinese regime,” the group continued.
In a sign that the Olympic Committee has been compromised by China over the last two decades, it was excused the Communist nation from any human rights requirements to host an Olympic Games that future sites have to follow. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the “Olympic Agenda 2020” in December 2014, which emphasizes safeguarding Olympic values and strengthening the role of sport in society. The agenda had not been reported on widely until it was fully adopted this year.
The Trump administration designated China’s treatment of ethnic minorities as genocide – something that all previous American presidents had refused to do. It still remains unclear if the Biden administration will carry on the Trump policy which human rights groups around the world had applauded.
The “Olympic Agenda 2020” finalized on January 27, 2021—long after Paris and Los Angeles had already been awarded their Olympics and after the genocide declaration by the Trump administration.
Pressure is now building at a rapid pace for a boycott and the group representing the minorities is urging the IOC to cancel or move the upcoming Winter Olympics from China.
“In spite of Beijing’s failure to keep human rights promises made before the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, and despite repeated requests by affected peoples and human rights groups to move or delay the 2022 Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to put profit before human lives and turn a blind eye to genocide,” the group stated. “It is now up to the international community to take action.”
The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, scheduled to take place this year, is expected to become flashpoint for boycotting the Beijing Winter Games.
“The time for talking with the IOC is over,” stated Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute. He was detained and eventually deported by the Chinese government in 2007. “This cannot be games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community,” he told the Associated Press.
If an Olympics boycott is to succeed, human rights watchers say that elected officials will need to feel pressure from their constituents.
–Dwight Widaman and wire services