Coalition of human rights groups calling for boycott of Beijing Olympics
BY JOSEPH CHOI - 05/17/21 01:06 PM EDT, published by The hill
A coalition of groups representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Hong Kongers called for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, alleging widespread human rights violations being carried out by the Chinese government.
"We call on all governments and people, including all National Olympic Committees and Olympic athletes, to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games," the coalition said in a statement. "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."
"At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in a merciless crackdown on Chinese human rights defenders, activists, faith communities and journalists, and implementing an intense strategy of intimidation and geopolitical bullying against Taiwan," the statement added.
The coalition argued that participating in the Beijing Olympics would be "tantamount to endorsing China’s genocide against the Uyghur people, and legitimizing the increasingly repressive policies of the totalitarian Chinese regime."
"Together we will stand against genocide and crimes against humanity and take action for democracy, freedom, and human rights," they added.
The 2022 Winter Olympics are currently set to take place in Beijing beginning on Feb. 4, 2022.
“The time for talking with the [International Olympic Committee] IOC is over,” Lhadon Tethong, director of the Tibet Action Institute, told The Associated Press. “This cannot be games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community.”
Tethong told the outlet that she too had once been detained by China in 2007 for leading a campaign for Tibet.
“The situation where we are now is demonstrably worse than it was then,” Tethong said. “If the games go ahead, then Beijing gets the international seal of approval for what they are doing.”
On Monday, Republican figures like Rep. Mike Waltz (Fla.) and former ambassador to the U.N. under former President Trump Nikki Haley signaled their support for a boycott.
"We can't embolden the [Chinese Communist Party] by rewarding them with the Olympics," Waltz tweeted.
"It is unthinkable that the world will participate in the Beijing Olympics while Communist China commits genocide," Haley wrote on Twitter. "I stand with the Uyghurs, Tibetans, and the residents of Hong Kong for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics."
Last week The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee urged Congress to not boycott the 2022 Olympics.
The organization's CEO Sarah Hirshland argued “an athlete boycott of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is not the solution to geopolitical issues.”
"A new generation of Winter Olympians and Paralympians are hard at work preparing to represent America in Beijing in 2022. Please give them that chance," Hirshland said. "They do not deserve to train for the Games under a cloud of uncertainty about American participation in the Games. Instead, we ought to show them our support and our appreciation—at a time of great difficulty, they have trained hard and sacrificed much.”
“People have worked to engage with the IOC in good faith to have them understand the issues directly from the mouths of those most impacted — the Uyghurs at the top of that list and the Tibetans and others,” she added. “It’s clear the IOC is completely uninterested in what the real impacts on the ground for people are.”