The Guardian: Uighur campaigners to target 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics sponsors

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/18/uighur-campaigners-to-target-2022-beijing-winter-olympics-sponsors

Campaigners fighting against the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China are to target private companies sponsoring the Beijing Winter Olympics in an attempt to persuade them to use their influence with the Chinese government ahead of the 2022 event.

Uighur campaigners in 10 different countries are coming together to write to companies asking them to use their platforms to educate and inform the world of the persecution under way in Xinjiang province. The first to be targeted is the chief executive officer of Airbnb, Brian Chesky.

Calling the Winter Olympics the “Genocide Games”, the campaign group would ideally like for Airbnb to withdraw its sponsorship, but will probably graduate their demands.

The San Francisco-based Airbnb secured a £500m sponsorship of the Olympics starting with the Beijing Games.

The digital campaign will include concurrent pictures of the typical accommodation available to Airbnb customers and that available to persecuted Uighurs held in detention camps.

The aim of the campaign is to persuade the huge multinationals that they will pay a commercial price if they do not use their immense soft power to persuade China to rethink its stance.

In its letter, the group broadly entitled End the Uighur Genocide Movement asks Chesky and his executive team to meet the campaigners virtually – including some of the people that have been forced to work in Chinese concentration camps and those whose loved ones have disappeared.

The group acknowledges that Chesky’s corporate aim is to bring the world closer together, adding he has built his company around the theme of “belonging”. The authors of the letter say: “We are exiles from our country, unable to go home, unable to contact our loved ones.”

They add: “All over the world, campaigners, politicians and celebrities are waking up to the horror of what is going on. There is now a real risk that that Airbnb’s brand will be stained by your association with the Genocide Games.”

Rahima Mahmut, director of the World Uighur Congress, said Airbnb could either pull out of the games or use their involvement to speak out “clearly and unambiguously” against the attacks on the Uighurs and other Muslims. She added that staying silent on this issue was not possible for Airbnb.

The campaign is being launched in America, the UK, Canada, Norway, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Australia.

Other major multinational sponsoring companies for the Beijing Olympics include Allianz, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Intel, Visa International, Omega, Atos and Panasonic.

Airbnb is facing the campaigner’s attention early partly because of the firm’s emphasis on corporate social responsibility. Chesky has also shown a huge personal philanthropic commitment, signing Bill Gates’s pledges to give the majority of his wealth away to charitable causes either during his lifetime or afterwards.

Airbnb has been contacted for comment.

Rick Scott: If Olympic Committee Can Ban Russia for Doping, It Can Move Winter Games Out of China

Florida Daily

Last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach following the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to ban the nation of Russia from competing in Olympic Games, but still allowing China to host the 2022 Olympic Games.

For more than a year, Scott has been calling on the Committee to urge China to stop violating human rights or find a new home for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Scott’s letter is below.

Dear President Bach:

I write today about the recent decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to ban Russia from participating in international sporting events through 2022 because of the country’s doping practices. I understand that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was an intervening party in CAS’s case, and I appreciate your desire to hold those accountable for unfair and unsportsmanlike conduct.

However, I cannot understand why the IOC is comfortable punishing Russia for failing to comply with rules, while allowing Communist China, who continues to commit a genocide against the Uyghurs, to host the 2022 Olympic Games.

As you are aware, Communist China is committing a genocide against the Uyghur population living in Xinjiang. More than one million Uyghurs are detained in concentration camps designed to erase the religious and ethnic cultural identities of the Uyghurs. Through torture, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) threatens Uyghurs to forsake their language, their faith and their culture. Uyghur women are forcibly sterilized and have intrauterine devices placed inside them to prevent more births of Uyghurs. Some have abortions forcibly performed on them. Those who are not being tortured inside the camps work as slave laborers in factories.

Why would the IOC want to punish Russia for doping, but refuse to take a stand against Communist China’s genocide? Why would the IOC go after Russians for consuming illicit drugs, yet remain silent while the country hosting the 2022 Olympic Games is enslaving, torturing, and harvesting the organs of millions of its citizens?

The IOC has a mandate to uphold the principles of Olympism, including social responsibility and preservation of human dignity. Right now, the IOC is failing to live up it to its own principles and its own mandate. If the Executive Board does not act by moving the 2022 Games to a country that actually respects human rights, then history will place the 2022 Beijing Games next to the 1936 Berlin Games as a platform to congratulate murderous dictators.

Why Joe Biden Should Boycott China’s 2022 Winter Olympics

National Interest

Beijing needs to empty its camps in Xinjiang, or America will work to empty its stadiums.

Beijing will host the next Winter Olympics in February 2022. If, as observed by academics and the international press, the 2008 Summer Olympics was China’s “coming out party,” the 2022 Winter Olympics will serve as a “coming of age party.” In one of his first acts as commander-in-chief, President Joe Biden should spoil the celebration by threatening to refuse the invite on behalf of America while simultaneously persuading other like-minded friends to do the same.

In explaining the decision, President Biden should not politely decline; instead, he should make America’s reasons clear: the mass detention of Uyghurs, and other Muslims, to include ethnic Kazaks and Uzbeks, in concentration camps and the systematic cultural destruction that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is carrying out in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The scale of social and ethnic eradication is numbing. While the number of detentions is unknown, estimates range from one to three million Muslims. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute estimates “approximately 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang (65% of the total) have been destroyed or damaged as a result of government policies…a further 30% of important Islamic sacred sites have been demolished…and an additional 28% have been damaged or altered in some way.” In the face of such brazen state-sponsored cultural destruction, America should not legitimize an event meant to crown personal achievement while Beijing persecutes millions for their faith and ethnicity.

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China: Repression Threatens Winter Olympics

By Eurasia Review
The Chinese government’s heightened repression from Xinjiang to Hong Kong threatens its hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin on February 4, 2022.

Human Rights Watch detailed extensive concerns about the human rights climate for hosting the games in China. These include the lack of media and internet freedom, the incarceration of more than a million Turkic Muslims in “political education” camps in Xinjiang, the lack of transparency in labor supply chains, and increasing free speech restrictions in Hong Kong. The IOC should immediately conduct robust human rights due diligence around the preparations for the 2022 Beijing Olympics and explain its efforts to manage human rights risks connected to the Games by February 2021, one year ahead of the games.

“The Chinese government’s intensifying crackdown undermines the basic rights that are essential to hosting the Olympics,” said Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch. “By the start of the one-year clock in February, the IOC needs to explain how human rights protections will be met.”

Earlier in December 2020, the International Olympic Committee published its expert report “Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy,” an important roadmap for adopting human rights across its operations. Human Rights Watch recommended that the IOC should immediately conduct and publish thorough human rights due diligence around the preparations for the 2022 Beijing Olympics and explain how it plans to address the human rights risks connected to the Games by February 2021, one year ahead of the games. Such action would be consistent with the steps set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “Guiding Principles”), and with the IOC’s ongoing work to build a strategic framework on human rights.

Human Rights Watch has extensively documented serious human rights abuses in China, and that the human rights environment has deteriorated significantly since the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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Bitter Winter: No 2022 Olympics in China, say US Senators

No 2022 Olympics in China, say US Senators
A bipartisan resolution asks to move the games to another country, since China has “committed crimes against humanity”
by Marco Respinti

The Winter Olympics Games should not be held in China in 2022. There is no reason for the world to support the regime led by the CCP by giving it more opportunities for business and propaganda.

This is what a bipartisan group of US senators is now requesting from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), citing the miserable human rights record of China. In a resolution presented on March 4 by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and cosponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), which draws on data by the US State Department, the group of senators cites the staggering fate of what they indicated as “more than 1 million” ethnic Muslims, including Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz, detained in as many as 1,200 “vocational training centers.” These are the transformation through education camps that Bitter Winter has constantly documented as being in in fact jails, where people are brutally tortured.

But, as Bitter Winter has often mentioned, based on the most accurate statistics by independent researchers, the figure of Uyghur Muslims detained in those camps is now up to 3 million, to which thousands of other Turkic Muslims of other ethnicities should be added.

There is more than that, obviously. The CCP regime persecutes minorities and all religions, ranging from Protestants and dissident Catholics to Buddhists and Taoists, from Jews to believers in Chinese traditional folk religions, with many new religious movements being especially targeted, from Falun Gong to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, from the Shouters to the Association of Disciples, and The Church of the Almighty God, which is today the single most severely persecuted religious movement in China. And in fact the US senators’ resolution does underline that “the Government of the People’s Republic of China subjects Christians and members of other religious groups to forced labor in brick kilns, food processing centers, and factories as part of detention for the purpose of ideological indoctrination,” and acknowledges that, “forced organ harvesting has been carried out for years throughout the People’s Republic of China on a significant scale, and practitioners of Falun Gong have been the main source of organs,” to conclude that, “the Government of the People’s Republic of China has committed crimes against humanity with respect to Uyghur individuals and practitioners of Falun Gong.”

All this considered, how can such a joyful event as the Olympics, celebrating peace and friendship among nations and peoples of the world, be held in a despotic country, which torments its own citizens?

The illiberal CCP regime gives no guarantee of respect of human dignity, and even public safety. We know that the world can’t trust it. The regime constantly sustains itself through propaganda, fake news, and the manipulation of truth. The world can’t rely on what this regime says, and we can’t take for granted any single piece of official news coming out of China. Human rights activists and NGOs know that all too well since decades, but the general international public has suddenly realized this now. The world still doesn’t know the whole truth about the spreading of coronavirus and, as Bitter Winter documents daily, the CCP regime is rather using the virus threat as an excuse to crack down harder on religious groups, dissidents, and ethnic minorities. There is no stop on the cynic march of the regime treading on its own people. Why then should the world give the Olympics to such a despotic government?

Repeatedly, persecuted minorities, dissidents, churches, religious groups, and common Chinese citizens have called for an international reaction to the ghastly CCP misdeeds. Mostly, their calls have gone unanswered. A few important moves at international levels have, however, been taken since 2018. The call of the US Senators to IOC is an important one: it is the official recognition that the CCP regime is guilty of crimes against humanity. The IOC should act now in the direction indicated by the US senators, and all free countries of the world as well as international organizations should support them.

Bipartisan bill urges Olympic committee to move 2022 winter games out of China

Bipartisan bill urges Olympic committee to move 2022 winter games out of China

A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2022 Winter Olympics out of China, citing humanitarian rights violations committed by Beijing against Hong Kong protesters and the detainment of more than 1 million ethnic Muslims.

Led by Sen. Rick Scott, Floridan Republican, the members unveiled legislation that urges the IOC to rebid the next winter games to a country “that recognizes and respects human rights.”

“The Olympic Games are an incredible opportunity to allow the world’s best athletes to represent their countries and unite our nations, and should not be hosted by one of the world’s worst human rights abusers,” Mr. Scott, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.

Sen. Ed Markey, Massachusetts Democrat and co-sponsor of the resolution, called for a rebid of the winter sporting event “unless Beijing changes course and addresses its violations of fundamental rights.”

“The International Olympic Committee need not wait until 2024 to place stronger emphasis on human rights,” he said.

In the resolution, the senators cited data compiled by the State Department that shows more than 1 million ethnic Muslims, including Uyghur, ethnic Kazakh, and Kyrgyz individuals, have been detained in as many as 1,200 ”vocational training centers” designed to erase ethnic and religious identities.

They also pointed to a 2019 Freedom House report that showed women, ethnic and religious minorities, and the LGBT community in China “have no opportunity to gain meaningful political representation and are barred from advancing their interests outside the formal structures of the Communist Party of China.”

Republican Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he sees “no reason to condone the Party’s actions by allowing the 2022 Winter Olympics to take place in Beijing,” and called on the IOC to “relocate the games to a country where the government respects the dignity and human rights of all people.”

Is a 2022 Olympic boycott over China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims a possibility?

I’m a big track fan, which is why one of my all-time favorite sports memories is watching from a nose-bleed seat at the Los Angeles Coliseum as Britain’s Sebastian Coe won the 1984 men’s 1,500-meter Olympic finals. But I also recall my excitement being dampened just a tad by knowing that Coe’s win was diminished by the absence that day of world-class Soviet bloc runners.

You’ll remember that President Jimmy Carter had pulled the United States out of the 1980 Moscow Olympics to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (sadly, almost 40 years later Afghanistan remains an open-ended U.S. foreign policy concern). More than 60 other nations joined the U.S.-led boycott.

As payback, the USSR pulled its athletes out of the following Summer Olympics, the Los Angeles games. More than a dozen other communist nations joined that boycott, hence the absence of many quality athletes and, in my mind, the need for an asterisk next to Coe’ name. (Ironically, Coe also won the 1,500 meters in 1980, which probably warrants a second asterisk.)

Jump forward to the present, which finds the U.S. and Russia, the rotting core of the old USSR, still at odds. But unlike the 1980s, China — then just a hint of the economic powerhouse it would become — is arguably as bad an actor today and at least equally as problematic for the U.S.

Guess what? The 2022 Winter Olympics is scheduled for China.

Given how horribly Beijing has persecuted its Muslim Uighur minority (plus the Tibetan Buddhists, underground Christian churches, and others, including ordinary citizens who disagree to any degree with the government’s heavy-handed policies), might another boycott of Olympic proportions be due?

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ICIJ: Politicians Push For Sanctions, Olympic TV Boycott After China Cables

Pressure continues to grow on the Chinese government over its treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, with European parliamentarians pushing for new sanctions and two senators in the United States urging a television boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

On Thursday, the European Parliament passed a resolution demanding that China shut down its mass internment camps in Xinjiang and called for Europe to impose sanctions and asset freezes against the Chinese officials responsible for them.

The measure, which cited the International Consortium of Investigative JournalistsChina Cables investigation, also called on European nations to expedite asylum requests from Uighurs and to strengthen export controls to stop all exports and technology transfers to China that could aid its sweeping surveillance programs.

The China Cables project revealed the secret operations manual for internment camps in Xinjiang that are holding hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, as well as previously undisclosed Chinese intelligence briefings that showed the mechanics of the mass surveillance and detention system.

Separately, in the U.S. on Thursday, Republican senators Rick Scott and Josh Hawley reportedly wrote to television station NBCUniversal to urge the broadcaster to refuse to air the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will take place in Beijing.

According to Axios, the letter, sent to top NBC executives on Thursday, cited both Beijing’s “abysmal” human rights record and concerns about China Cables revelations of mass surveillance, and called on the station to “request that the [International Olympic Committee] re-bid the 2022 Olympics or refuse to air the 2022 games.”

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Byline Times: China Must Not Be Allowed to Host the 2022 Olympic Games while it Persecutes its Uyghur Muslims

As early as 1922, Adolf Hitler signalled his desire to rid Germany and the European continent of the Jewish people, telling a journalist: “Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews”. Eleven years later, he and the Nazi Party seized control of the country, but the “Final Solution” – the mass extermination of the Jews – would not begin until the summer of 1941.

Exactly five years before the Einsatzgruppen began shooting Jewish women, children, and men – hastily digging ditches located well behind the lines of fighting between the Wehrmacht and Soviet forces during Operation Barbarossa – Nazi Germany hosted the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin.

Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the games to Germany in 1931 – two years prior to the Nazi Party putting an end to the Weimar Republic – Hitler’s evil intent was no secret when the world’s biggest sporting event got underway five years later. In fact, the official Nazi newspaper Volkischer Beobachter declared, in no uncertain terms, that Jews should not be allowed to participate.

When a number of countries threatened to boycott the games, Hitler gave assurances that Jewish and black athletes would be allowed to compete. A decade later, six million Jews would be slaughtered at the hands of Hitler’s Nazi thugs – illustrating just how shameful the 1936 Olympic Games are considered to be in the 120-year history of the event, held once every four years.

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LATimes: Opinion: The U.S. should boycott Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics

Opinion: The U.S. should boycott Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics

The Chinese government has detained more than a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in concentration camps in Xinjiang, China.
(Los Angeles Times)

By Michael Mazza
Nov. 29, 2019
3 AM

The evidence of abuses in the Chinese region of Xinjiang has been mounting over the past year. Testimony from former detainees, satellite imagery and publicly available local government documentation have all pointed to the building of concentration camps, the detention of a million or more Uighurs and other Muslim minorities and rampant abuses against the detained, including torture and sexual violence. Conditions outside the camps are not much better, with a security apparatus that is oppressive and omnipresent.

The recent leak of the Xinjiang Papers — more than 400 pages of internal Chinese government documents — provide proof that China’s leaders are directly responsible for the abuses in Xinjiang. President Xi Jinping undoubtedly set the direction for that policy, with disastrous consequences for China’s Muslims.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Xinjiang Papers showed China’s intent to “effectively erase” the Uighur people. These are strong words and raise the question of whether China’s leaders have genocidal intent. Some reported abuses in Xinjiang — including forced sterilizations and the separation of children from their families — could, indeed, constitute genocide.

The question is what to do about this. The State Department has worked to publicize the plight of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and has placed visa restrictions on culpable individuals. The Commerce Department has issued a list of Chinese companies complicit in the abuses, barring Americans from doing business with them. The publication of the Xinjiang Papers should encourage the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on senior leaders, including Chen Quanguo, the Xinjiang party boss.

But more must be done. If the United States and other nations are to be successful in convincing China to moderate its policies in Xinjiang, they should target Xi directly. Fortunately, the international community has good leverage to use against him: Beijing will host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee should revisit its decision to award the Games to Beijing in light of the overwhelming evidence of Chinese crimes against the people in Xinjiang. Unfortunately, the IOC has shown that it’s incapable of standing up for human rights. That means that the United States and other concerned countries must act.

The Trump administration, with congressional support, should begin working now to build an international coalition that will call on the IOC to move or cancel the Games unless China closes the camps and ends abuses in Xinjiang.

If the IOC refuses to play ball, which is likely, the coalition should be prepared to threaten a boycott of the 2022 Olympics and to hold parallel “Freedom Games” if Beijing does not rapidly alter course. If the Trump administration fails to act, Congress could call on the U.S. Olympic Committee to announce its own boycott. If the committee refuses, Congress should look into revoking its federal charter.

It would be nice to separate sports from politics, but China uses international sport to advance its political interests. Just as Hu Jintao employed the 2008 Summer Games to signal China’s “arrival” on the world stage, Xi will use the 2022 Games to signal to his own people that his “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” is well underway. The 2022 Olympics will be a grand propaganda spectacle in which participating countries will play supporting roles.

A cancellation, relocation or boycott of the Games would mark a significant international and domestic embarrassment for Xi. News of the reasons behind such a development would certainly make its way past China’s Great Firewall. Using the Olympics as leverage could be quite effective because doing so would challenge Xi’s leadership.

If the U.S. fails to find international partners, Washington should be prepared for a solitary boycott. To participate in the Beijing 2022 Games despite the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs would be to acquiesce to those abuses. By standing up for human rights principles, the U.S. could inspire others to follow our lead while showing abusers that, when it comes to defending human rights, America is no paper tiger.

Michael Mazza is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior non-resident fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute.

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