Category Archives: Agitate

From the Basement: US should boycott 2022 Olympic Games

In the wake of continued human rights’ violations and outcries from advocacy groups and other organizations to boycott the Olympics, democracies like the United States have an important matter to settle: whether or not it should send its athletes to the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The relationship between sports and politics is uniquely challenging and rarely presents a clear-cut moral direction. In the Olympics, the most international sports stage, there is a pressure imposed on democratic nations like the U.S. to balance obligations to athletes seeking to participate on the highest stage and sending a clear message to authoritarian nations like China. The Chinese government stands accused of various human rights abuses, including a genocidal campaign against the Uyghurs of Xinjiang.

Many recall triumphant images of Jesse Owens taking the gold in the heart of Nazi Germany, winning a victory not just against Hitler’s perverted sense of German superiority but race supremacy in general. However, like other “feel good” moments in sports, this tends to gloss over the dark reality that was the 1936 Olympics.

While Hitler promised to eliminate all suggestions of Jewish persecution from the Berlin Olympics, his actual rhetoric and policy towards the Jewish people and other minorities both before and after the games is more than known. The hosting of the games in the Reich’s capital city was in reality an opportunity for Germany to put its tyrannical and oppressive regime in the international spotlight. There is a real concern that the spotlight and revenue that China will receive by hosting the Olympics could be used to promote propaganda and further human rights violations throughout the nation.

The question to boycott an Olympics in China is not a novel one; the 2008 Olympics were also held in Beijing, and likewise many international entities voiced concerns over participating. While China pledged full transparency for news outlets and journalists, the International Olympic Committee admits to allowing the Chinese government to censor certain internet sites and media coverage throughout the 17 days of competition. At the time, the Chinese government received criticism due to excessive pollution and riots across Tibet.

Olympic boycotts are not uncommon either; notable examples besides 1936 including the 1976, 1980 and 1984 games. The 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow were famously boycotted by more than 60 countries as a response against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. While the boycott was a clear message of intolerance from the international community towards the USSR’s international agenda, it did little to abate the actual conflict it was seeking to protest, which would not conclude until 1989, albeit in a tactical disaster for the Soviets.

The case of the 2022 Beijing Games provides an opportunity for democracies around the world to finally send a clear message to the Communist Party of China that it will no longer reward genocide, espionage and other illiberal activities with international spotlight and prestige.


Fox Business: NBC’s planned Beijing Olympics coverage targeted by human rights groups

NBC and other broadcasters around the world are being asked to cancel their planned coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, according to a report.

The Games are scheduled to begin Feb. 4.

The request came from human rights groups who said they opposed China’s treatment of minorities, including Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong residents and others, The Associated Press reported.

The letter accuses NBC and the other networks of “being complicit” in China’s human rights abuses, the AP reported.

The groups sent a letter Tuesday to Jeff Shell, chief executive of NBC Universal, as well as the heads of other networks around the world that have broadcast rights to the Games, the AP reported.


BBC: Beijing 2022: China readies for Winter Olympics as pressure grows

For the first time since the original coronavirus outbreak closed China’s borders, the country is preparing to allow foreigners to enter again in large numbers for the winter Olympics next February.

This had not seemed like it would pose much of a problem. People had become accustomed to life without many Covid restrictions, with authorities stamping out each outbreak of the virus as it came along.

But everything changed when the highly-contagious Delta variant made its way into China via an airport in the eastern city of Nanjing.

In July and August it quickly spread to dozens of cities and towns, threatening China’s status of having the virus controlled.

As they had before, authorities pursued a goal of full elimination.

The strategy is always the same. Phone app health clearance is implemented in order to enter public buildings, track and trace methods go into overdrive and, as infected people are identified, their housing estates placed into lockdown.

Entry and exit to the Olympic city can be controlled if needed. Transport links from high-risk areas can be suspended and travellers coming to the capital Beijing from medium risk locations could be required to have negative coronavirus tests.

With these tools, officials are hoping to have zero domestic Covid infections when the Winter Games begin.

This will have a major impact on the look and feel of the Olympics.

But this does not necessarily mean no spectators.

Beijing-based Canadian winter sport specialist Justin Downes has been advising Games organisers. He says local officials have been studying how Tokyo managed coronavirus risks for athletes and the decision there to not have crowds.

“The government has already said that, at least at this stage, that they are expecting full stands of spectators,” he told the BBC. “We don’t know how many of those will be from overseas at this point but certainly the games will be well-supported by spectators from China: no question.”

I asked how this would be achieved. With bubbles?

“That’s the current discussion,” he said. “I mean the organising committee and relevant authorities are not releasing any of these plans until September, so yeah there will definitely be some sort of a bubble involving the athletes and there will be discussion as to who’s vaccinated and who’s not and how those flows work. But, from a winter sports perspective, they tested all of these protocols in Europe last year.”


Video interview with Rushan Abbas of Campaign for Uyghurs

Video Podcast # 3

New Canada Media: ‘Beijing Has No Right to Host 2022 Winter Olympics’

“It’s very important to unite against dictatorship and wrongdoings” – Sheng Xue. (Photo: Sheng Xue)

Sheng Xue is the pen name of Zang Xihong. She is a Toronto-based human rights activist, writer, journalist, poet, and a key leader of the overseas Chinese pro-democracy movement. Xue grew up in Beijing and moved to Canada soon after the Tiananmen Square Massacre in August 1989. For 32 years, she has fought for democracy in China, promoted multiculturalism and inter-ethnic dialogue.

In 2001, Xue was honoured with the Canadian Association for Journalists (CAJ) Award for Investigative Journalism, and a National Magazine Award. In 2005, she won the National Ethnic Press and Media Council Award for journalism, community service, and dedication to promote multicultural values and human rights. Xue was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. In April 2021, Xue was appointed as a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee of Metroland Media Group in Ontario.

NCM’s Joyeeta Ray caught up with Xue to find out more about her eventful life, immigrant journey and political views, including her recent rallies calling to move the Winter Olympics 2022 from Beijing.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why do you feel so strongly against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their decision to host the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022?

Beijing could host a well-organized Winter Olympics in 2022, but the international committee should not allow a country that has committed horrific crimes against humanity to do so.

For 20 years, China has been killing Falun Gong practitioners, and then in recent years marginalizing Uyghur Muslims to harvest organs for transplant trade to make billions of dollars. They are responsible for the cultural genocide of Buddhist Tibetans.

We have been organizing rallies in downtown Toronto to call for the Winter Olympics to be moved from Beijing. A coalition of 15 organizations from seven Canadian communities are involved in these protests: the Tibetans, Uyghurs, overseas Chinese democracy, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam and Korea.

Canadian lawmakers have recognized the genocide of Uyghurs Muslims in China, but the government hasn’t taken a call yet. China has no right to host the Winter 2022 Olympic games with their history of genocide and human rights abuse. I know the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) well.


Newsweek: Here’s How Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics Could be Moved or Postponed

While the delayed 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo just came to a close, a growing movement is seeking to move or postpone next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. Organizers cite the Communist country’s alleged use of forced labor for consumer products and materials that flood multinational corporations’ supply chains.

The latest salvo in the push to move or delay the 2022 games slated for Beijing comes from an American congressional committee set up to observe China’s human-rights practices. Committee officials say that relocation would serve as a sanction for the country’s alleged forced labor practices that have been increasingly tied to America’s growing solar power industry, and to products and materials used in sneakers, mobile phones, TVs and other consumer products.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China asked Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and to relocate them if the host government does not end what the group describes as the country’s “egregious” human-rights abuses. In a letter dated July 23, the commission wrote that “no Olympics should be held in a country whose government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity.”

Video Podcast: Interview with Enghebatu Togochog of the SMHRIC

Gatestone Institute: Growing Calls for Moving or Boycotting the Beijing Olympics

BEIJING, CHINA – APRIL 12: Vice President and Secretary-General of Beijing 2022 Han Zirong, center, and other senior staff raise glasses as they toast at an event held by the organizing committee of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics for international media at their headquarters at Shougang on April 12, 2021 in Beijing, China. The committee recently held test events at several venues ahead of the Winter Games set to open February 4, 2022. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

A growing number of Western lawmakers and human rights groups are calling for a boycott of the next Winter Olympics, set to take place in Beijing in February 2022.

The calls for a boycott have come in response to burgeoning evidence of human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, a remote autonomous region in northwestern China. Human rights experts say that at least one million Muslims are being detained in hundreds of internment camps, where they are subject to torture, mass rapes, forced labor and sterilizations.

Anger is also simmering over China’s political repression in Hong Kong, Tibet and Inner Mongolia; its increased intimidation of Taiwan; its threats to its other neighbors; as well as its continued lack of transparency over the origins of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in the deaths of more than three million people around the world, according Johns Hopkins University.

Boycott options include: 1) moving the Winter Olympics to another country; 2) an athletic boycott — prohibiting athletes from participating in the Games; 3) a diplomatic boycott — barring senior political representatives from travelling to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony; 4) an economic boycott — pressuring multinational corporations to cancel multi-million dollar Olympic sponsorship deals; or 5) a media boycott — limiting television coverage of the Games, thus depriving China of an important propaganda tool in the West.

Regardless of what transpires, China’s human rights record is sure to be the focus of increased scrutiny during the months leading up to the Games.


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.