Reuters: Athletes have real concerns about Beijing 2022, says human rights group head

Athletes have legitimate concerns about the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and organisers need to be transparent in addressing them, says the Centre for Sport and Human Rights chief executive Mary Harvey.

Human rights groups have urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take the Games out of China because of the treatment of Uighur Muslims, along with other human rights concerns.

China denies human rights abuses.

“I’d like information and transparency of the situation,” Harvey said when asked whether she was comfortable with the Games taking place in the country.

“I think right now in the absence of information it’s difficult to say. I think sunlight is the best antiseptic.”

Goalkeeper for the U.S. soccer team that won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Harvey said sport was more aware of human rights than ever and athletes and fans were asking more questions.

“They do care about where products were made that they might be purchasing, they care about whether or not they are going to be in some cases safe or able to speak freely. They are legitimate concerns,” she added.

U.S. Olympic champion skier Mikaela Shiffrin said in March she should not have to choose between her “morals” and her “job”

“It’s building, it’s increasing in volume. People have concerns,” said Harvey of criticism of the Games and calls for a boycott.

“People who are advocating are becoming louder in their advocacy. And they are asking for some information. They would like more information to disprove what they are fearful of.

“In the absence of that, it probably will get worse before the Games… it could be they come off without a hitch, it could be that you are going to have athletes saying things or protesting. That’s possible too. It’s their right to do so.”

As a former athlete, she questioned whether boycotts worked and said it was never good “when somebody takes the right to compete away”.

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SCMP: Too early to talk about boycotting China’s Winter Olympics: Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington is consulting with its allies on concerns over Xinjiang but talk of an Olympics boycott is ‘premature’. Photo: AP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was “premature” to discuss a boycott of the Beijing-hosted Winter Olympics in 2022, but that the US would take “concrete actions” to ensure it was not using products made in Xinjiang over its human rights abuses there.

In a Sunday interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Blinken said the US was “not focused on a boycott” but was consulting closely with allies and partners on their concerns in Xinjiang, where up to 1 million ethnic Uygurs and other minorities are believed to have been detained.

He said the US needed to “bring the world together” to condemn Beijing’s repression of ethnic Uygurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, and ensure that US companies were not providing China with things that could be used for repression.

“We need to be looking at products that are made in that part of China to make sure that they’re not coming here; but we also have to make sure that we are dealing with all of our interests, and what is the best way to effectively advance our interests and our values,” Blinken said.

“We have to be able to deal with China on areas where those interests are implicated and require working with China, even as we stand resolutely against egregious violations of human rights or, in this case, acts of genocide.”

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Calls grow louder to boycott Beijing’s Olympics — and analysts warn of retaliation from China

Countries and companies outside China face rising pressure to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year, but China will not sit back idly in response, says political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.

“Western governments and firms face mounting pressure from human rights advocates and political critics of China to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics,” according to Eurasia Group analysts.

The Games are due to take place between February 4 to 20.

“China will punish countries that boycott the Games with political sanctions and commercial retaliation, but with much greater severity in the athletic boycott scenario,” they said in a report published Thursday.

“Campaigners have focused on Beijing’s targeted repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, which some Western governments have called ‘genocide,‘” the report said. “Calls to shun what activists label the ‘Genocide Games’ will grow as the opening ceremony approaches, increasing risks for governments, corporates, and investors — whether they decide to boycott or not.”

Last month, the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom and United States issued a joint statement accusing the Chinese government of inflicting an “extensive program of repression” on the Uyghur people including detention camps, forced labor and forced sterilizations.

China has repeatedly denied allegations of forced labor and other abuses in Xinjiang. The foreign ministry last month called such claims “malicious lies” designed to “smear China” and “frustrate China’s development.”

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China Warns Their Lapdog Biden Not to Boycott Olympics

PSAKI: ‘We have not discussed, and are not discussing, any joint boycott with allies and partners…’

Chinese attendants dressed in winter costumes rehearse the award ceremony for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics/AP Photo

(Headline USA) China‘s government warned the Biden administration on Wednesday not to boycott next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing after the White House said it was talking with allies about a joint approach to complaints of human rights abuses.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson rejected accusations of abuses against ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

He warned of an unspecified “robust Chinese response” to a potential Olympics boycott.

“The politicization of sports will damage the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the interests of athletes from all countries,” said the government’s top propagandist, Zhao Lijian. “The international community including the U.S. Olympic Committee will not accept it.”

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SCMP: More than half of Canadians support Beijing Olympics boycott, survey shows

Staff members of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games at the National Aquatics Center, now known as the Ice Cube, in Beijing on Thursday. A new survey suggests that more than half of Canadians favor boycotting the games. Photo: Reuters

More than half of Canadians oppose participation in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, according to a recent survey, underscoring the negative public opinion in the country toward China stemming from allegations of human rights abuses.

Online polling of 1,000 Canadians found that 54 per cent believe that the country “definitely should / probably should” boycott the international competition, while 24 per cent said “probably should not / definitely should not”, Canadian polling firm Research Co. said on Thursday. Twenty-one per cent of the respondents said they were not sure.

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AP: World #2 – Olympic committee ignores China’s human rights abuses, insists its mission is “to create a better world”

Attendees wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus look at an exhibit at a visitors center at the Winter Olympic venues in Yanqing, on the outskirts of Beijing, Feb. 5, 2021.

(by Graham Dunbar, Associated Press) GENEVA — Activists protesting the 2022 Beijing Olympics hoped China’s record on human rights would get on the agenda this week at a major IOC (International Olympic Committee) gathering.

The International Olympic Committee was just as determined not to speak publicly of the “No Beijing 2022” campaign’s concerns.

Words like Uyghur detention camps, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and certainly not genocide, were unspoken by Olympic officials across three days of debate broadcast online, and three news conferences that wrapped on Friday.

Instead, the IOC praised Beijing’s Winter Games preparations and announced a vaccine diplomacy deal with China to help inoculate athletes worldwide.

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Bitter Winter: Stopping Beijing 2022 Olympic Games: It Is Not Impossible

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What looked like a Quixotic movement doomed to failure is now gaining momentum internationally.

Beijing National Stadium, where China hopes to inaugurate the 2022 Winter Olympics

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games should be moved away from China, if the Chinese regime does not prove that it has taken serious steps to improve its abysmal human rights record. This is the call insistently heard from important groups and individuals worried by the state of religious freedom and human rights in the land of Red Dragon.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC), one of the major organizations of the Uyghur diaspora, based in Munich, Germany, has taken the lead in this field. Last month, WUC formally addressed to Mr. Ban Ki Moon, formerly Secretary General of the United Nations and from mid-September 2017 Chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Ethics Commission, a letter “raising its grievance in relation to the failure of the Ethics Office to follow the Rules of Procedure Governing Cases of Possible Breach of Ethical Principles” in the case of China.

In fact, WUC states, “IOC, its Executive Board, and IOC President Thomas Bach have acted in breach of the Olympic Charter by failing to reconsider holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing following verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity taking place”.

The case in point is of course the Chinese genocide against Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities, most of whom are Muslim, in Xinjiang, the region its Turkic inhabitants call East Turkestan.

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Reuters: Uighurs take case against Beijing Games to IOC ethics chief Ban Ki-moon

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GENEVA (Reuters) – The largest group of exiled ethnic Uighurs have asked the chair of the IOC’s ethics commission to personally review its call for the 2022 Winter Games not to be held in Beijing amid evidence of what it calls crimes against humanity.

Activists and U.N. experts say 1 million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims are held in Chinese camps in Xinjiang. China denies abuses and says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism in the remote western region.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said its public complaint on the issue last August had not been given a fair hearing by the International Olympics Committee.

In a statement seen by Reuters on its Feb. 26 letter to ethics chief Ban Ki-moon, the WUC repeated that the IOC had “acted in breach of the Olympic Charter by failing to reconsider holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing following verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes and humanity taking place”.

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EU Today: Brussels conference calls for Beijing to be stripped of 2022 Winter Olympics over human rights abuses, or face boycott!

EU Today

A conference at the Brussels Press Club on Monday heard arguments in favour of Beijing being stripped of the 2022 Winter Olympics because of its repression of its Uyghur Muslim minority in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, or for a boycott of the spectacle.

“I hope that all the EU countries could get together to decide to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics”, said Finnish Green MEP Alviina Alametsa.
She continued, “It is positive that the EU has condemned China’s human rights violations… we now have to choose what are the lines that China cannot cross without consequences, but to me the lines have already been passed.”

Co-founder and CEO of Hong Kong Watch, Benedict Rogers was in agreement, stating that “with regard to the Winter Olympics, either a boycott, or if we can put pressure on the IOC to think about moving the Olympics even at this late stage, my understanding is that some political groups in Canada have called for this, and have offered Canada as an alternative location, and there are a number of European countries of course that have the capability to host Winter Olympics.”

Senior parliamentarian Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the British Conservative party, who is leading the debate in his country’s parliament on the imposition of “Magnitsky” sanctions against the Chinese leadership, and who addressed the Brussels conference on that particular issue has also been vocal in calling for a boycott.

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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.