Friday, May 20, 2022

Activists urge athletes to speak at Beijing Olympics

BEIJING ( Associated Press) – Human rights activists on Friday called for action against the Beijing Olympics, calling on athletes and sponsors to speak out against the “game of genocide.”

Speaking at an online press conference organized by human rights group Human Rights Watch, Chinese dissidents and activists representing minority Uighur and Tibetan populations urged international attendants to raise their voices against China’s hosting of the Games starting next week. Lift.

“The 2022 Winter Olympics will be remembered as the Games of Genocide,” said Teng Biao, a former human rights activist in China who is now a visiting professor at the University of Chicago.

“The purpose of the CCP is to turn the playing field into a platform for political legitimacy and a tool for eradicating all the atrocities,” he said, referring to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

China’s action under the radical ruler Xi Jinping has been felt in wide swathes of society. Hong Kong authorities crushed anti-government protests in the city in 2019, and the central government in Beijing passed a national security law aimed at suppressing dissent, leading to the arrest of activists and the disbanding of civil society groups.

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Meanwhile, in the country’s western region of Xinjiang, an estimated 1 million or more – most of them Uighurs – have been confined in re-education camps in recent years, according to researchers.

An independent, informal body set up by a prominent British barrister to assess evidence on China’s alleged rights abuses against the Uyghur people concluded in December that the Chinese government committed the genocide. China has consistently denied any human rights violations in the region and said it has carried out its actions to combat extremism in the region to ensure people’s safety.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin hit back at the rights group for its continued call to boycott the Olympics, saying that “the so-called human rights group is biased against China and inclined to mischief. The lies and rumors fabricated by it” are unpopular. Its heinous acts that harm the Olympics will never succeed.”

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The Ministry of External Affairs has also said that the Olympics should not be politicised. Yet the competition is already facing a diplomatic boycott led by the US, whose ties with China have eroded over the years.

Activists have failed to boycott the Games outright, but they have continued to speak out.

“Your silence is their strength. This is what they want more than anything: that the world will play by China’s rules, that we will follow China’s lead, that we will continue to trade as usual with these atrocities and crimes.” will stay away from,” said Lahadon Tethong, director of the Tibet Action Institute at the press conference on Friday.

He appealed to the athletes from the US, UK, France and other countries to speak directly.

“I personally believe that you should use your platform and your privilege and this historic opportunity. You have to speak out against the wave of genocide,” she said.

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Associated Press video journalist Sam McNeil contributed to this Beijing report.

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