AP – A coalition representing minorities in China is once again accusing the International Olympic Committee of not circumventing human rights abuses while the country prepares for 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing.
Speaking rights groups for Tibetans, Uighurs and others representing Hong Kong have sent an open letter to IOC President Thomas Bach and IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., who will oversee preparations for the Games Beijing.
Received by the Associated Press, the letter states that the IOC has “turned a blind eye to the widespread and systematic violations of human rights committed by the Chinese authorities.”
Get The Daily of Israel’s Daily Edition by Email and don’t miss our top stories for free
Rights advocates want to see evidence – which the IOC says has been obtained – that China will abide by the human rights promises it made when the games were awarded to it in 2015. It also says that China has promised to allow unprotected statements and allow demonstrations or complaints.
Athletes around the world have been pushing for more latitude to express themselves at the Olympics and arguing that lobbying for human rights is not political lobbying.
A representative of the right-wing groups met two months ago with IOC leaders but says their demands have been ignored. They also sent an open letter three months ago calling on the IOC to remove the Olympics from Beijing.
It is widely reported that China has deposited more than a million Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, in the western Xinjiang region. China initially refused to have the camps, but now claims to be training and education centers.
Forced labor, forced labor and sterilization and abortion are widely reported in Xinjaing. Religious minorities have been treated as “cultural genocide” or “ethnic cleansing.”
President Joe Biden’s campaign workers suggested several months ago that the treatment was “genocide.”
“History has shown us that the IOC has taken an active decision to continue with the charade of political neutrality to prove that it does not work towards human rights violations in China,” he said. The letter said: “This willing ignorance is shameful and does not value the personal experiences of all of us who are struggling under this disciplinary regime.”
The IOC has reiterated that it runs a sporting event and is not responsible for domestic policies in the host country. This was repeated in a statement to the Associated Press. They said human rights issues had been raised by “government and local authorities” in China. They said they had received “promises” but did not provide any information as requested by the letter.
Starting with the 2024 Olympics in Paris, cities must adhere to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. However, China is not subject to these rules because the IOC ordered the supply after they chose Beijing for 2022.
“For decades we have testified to the IOC about the brutality, beating, torture, and even death of our people at the hands of Chinese authorities, some of which are directly linked to peaceful protests related to the Olympic Games,” the letter said. “But the IOC has failed to meet those reports.”
The Olympics open on February 4, 2022. Beijing was chosen in a final vote over Almaty, Kazakhstan after several European centers fell on costs, or after referendums refused to hold the games .
China and other authoritarian states have been their favorite venues for the Olympics and other mega-events as they are never against the public and rarely question the costs.
The IOC brought the 2008 Summer Olympics to Beijing, arguing that the event would improve human rights in China. The coalition has reminded the IOC that human rights conditions are worse than they were 12 years ago with China operating what it described as an “Orwellian” state.