Activists mark one-year countdown to Beijing Winter Olympics with protestComments Off on Activists mark one-year countdown to Beijing Winter Olympics with protest
Originally published by Phayul Newsdesk on February 23, 2021
By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 3: As the one-year countdown to the 2022 Winter Olympics begins on January 4, a coalition of over 170 activist groups called on nations to boycott the premier sporting event to be held in Beijing.
On Wednesday, five Tibetan activist groups here held a press conference and staged an action-cum-street theatre to condemn the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for awarding the hosting honors to China despite its poor human rights record. “Hosting the games in a country committing genocide, ethnic cleansing, and occupation is akin to legitimizing these crimes. Despite the plight of Tibetans, and other peoples occupied by China, the IOC has chosen to ignore the fact that their chosen Olympic host is carrying out heinous crimes against humanity,” the joint statement read.
In Lausanne, Switzerland where the headquarter of the IOC is located, Tibetan activists staged a bloody action in front of the IOC compound to protest the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. Activists from the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE) also staged an action-cum-street theatre on Wednesday. “For two decades the IOC has repeatedly failed to address the extreme and worsening human rights abuses carried out by the Chinese government, instead choosing to reward the brutal crackdown on Tibetan, Uyghurs, Hongkongers, Southern Mongolians, and China Human Rights Defenders by awarding China and enabling their attempt to whitewash its reputation,” TYAE said.
Tashi Shitsetsang from the TYAE said,“The IOC knows full well the extent of China’s human rights abuses – we have told them directly – but they have actively chosen to ignore us and to turn a blind eye to the brutal occupation of Tibet, the crackdown in Hong Kong and the genocide that is happening in East Turkistan. The IOC has the blood of our people on its hands.”
Despite lobbying efforts by activist groups and condemnation from human rights watch dogs, IOC has awarded China the hosting honours for the premiere sporting event for the second time. Pressure in the form of nations boycotting the event, observers say, will bring China to legitimately listen to human rights woes. Until now, only U.K. has spoken out with its Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab saying in October that he had not ruled out Britain boycotting the Olympics due to China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority in occupied East Turkestan.
China is set to host the 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing from 4 to 20 February 2022.