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.
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.
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.