Rights groups call for boycott of Beijing 2022 Winter Games for human rights abuses

The coalition is composed of groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians, residents of Hong Kong, and others.

The Associated Press February 03, 2021 10:28:47 IST
Rights groups call for boycott of Beijing 2022 Winter Games for human rights abuses

Beijing is slated to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. AP

Tokyo: A coalition of 180 rights group on Wednesday called for a boycott of next year's Beijing Winter Olympics tied to reported human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in China.

The games are to open in one year, on 4 February, 2022, and are set to go forward despite the pandemic.

The coalition is composed of groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians, residents of Hong Kong, and others.

The group has issued an open letter to governments calling for a boycott of the Olympics "to ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government's appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent."

Rights groups have previously asked the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee to move the games from China. The IOC has largely ignored the demands and says it's only a sporting body that does not get involved with politics.

The groups said because of the IOC's inaction, "it now falls on governments to take a stand and demonstrate that they have the political will to push back against China's reprehensible human rights abuses."

Beijing was host to the 2008 Olympics, which it promised would improve human rights  in the country. Instead, the groups say the prestige of the Olympics has led to "a gross increase on the assault on communities living under its rule."

The situation of the Uighurs in northwestern China has received most of the attention. Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on his first day in office that he believed genocide was being committed against Xinjiang's ethnic minorities.

China has brushed off the criticisms as interference in its internal affairs and politicisation of sports. It has reacted strongly to charges of genocide. One Chinese official called it the "lie of the century."

Since 2016, China has swept a million or more Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities into prisons and indoctrination camps that the state calls training centers, according to estimates by researchers and rights groups.

People have been subjected to torture, sterilization and political indoctrination in addition to forced labour as part of an assimilation campaign, according to former residents and detainees, as well as experts and leaked government documents.

China at first denied the existence of the internment areas. It later acknowledged them, but denied any abuses and says the steps it has taken are necessary to combat terrorism and a separatist movement.

"The IOC refused to listen in 2008, defending its decision with claims that they would prove to be a catalyst for improved human rights,"he letter says. "As human rights experts predicted, this decision proved to be hugely misplaced; not only did China's human rights record not improve but violations increased substantially without rebuke.

Updated Date:

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply

also read

Australian bid to host 2032 Summer Olympics in Brisbane fast tracked by IOC
Sports

Australian bid to host 2032 Summer Olympics in Brisbane fast tracked by IOC

The government-backed Queensland bid was made more likely after hosting the Commonwealth Games — a two-week multi-sport event for former British Empire countries — at Gold Coast in 2018.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Decision over foreign spectators could be made by May, says IOC president Thomas Bach
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Decision over foreign spectators could be made by May, says IOC president Thomas Bach

Organisers are yet to announce whether supporters will be able to travel to Japan for the tournament, but Bach said he expects a decision by May.

AIBA says IOC could have retained Olympic world qualifiers, questions ranking system for quotas
Sports

AIBA says IOC could have retained Olympic world qualifiers, questions ranking system for quotas

The IOC's Boxing Task Force, which is in charge of conducting the qualifiers as well as the main event for the sport in Tokyo, decided to cancel the world qualifiers and push the European qualifiers to June from April in view of the COVID-19 restrictions globally.