243 global groups call for action against China for human rights abuses ahead of Beijing Winter Olympics
Update: January 29, 2022 6:40 p.m. STI
New York [US]Jan 29 (ANI): 243 global groups, including non-governmental organizations, have called for action against China on human rights grounds as the Beijing Winter Olympics are due to begin the first week of February.
“The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will open amid atrocious crimes and other serious human rights abuses by the Chinese government, 243 non-governmental organizations from around the world said today. The groups urged governments to join in a diplomatic boycott of the Games, set to begin February 4, 2022, and urged athletes and sponsors not to legitimize government abuses,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement Thursday.
“It is not possible for the Olympics to be a ‘force for good’, as claimed by the International Olympic Committee, while the host government is committing serious crimes in violation of international law,” said Sophie Richardson, director of HRW for China.
HRW further said that under President Xi Jinping, Chinese authorities have committed massive abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans, ethnic groups and believers from all independent faith groups. They eliminated independent civil society by persecuting human rights activists, feminists, lawyers, journalists and others. The government gutted a once vibrant civil society in Hong Kong, expanded technology-based surveillance to dramatically restrict the rights of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and permitted the use of forced labor, in violation of the international law.
Chinese authorities also continue to threaten members of diaspora communities, public figures and businesses beyond China’s borders through a sophisticated campaign of transnational repression, according to HRW.
“Having the Winter Olympics in Beijing sends a signal to the world that Xi Jinping’s government is normal,” said Renee Xia, director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders. “When the world rationalizes such an abusive situation, it’s harder for victims to stand up against injustice.”
Since the Chinese government won the 2022 Winter Games in 2015, non-governmental organizations and the media have documented numerous serious human rights violations by Chinese authorities. These include the arbitrary detention, torture and forced labor of millions of Uyghurs and other Turkish groups in Xinjiang (the Uyghur region); the decimation of independent media, democratic institutions and the rule of law in Hong Kong; high-tech surveillance systems allowing authorities to unfairly track and prosecute peaceful behavior, including criticism shared through apps and many other human rights violations.
“The spectacle of the Olympics cannot cover up genocide,” said Omer Kanat, executive director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project. “It’s hard to understand why anyone thinks it’s even possible to celebrate international friendship and ‘Olympic values’ in Beijing this year.”
According to HRW, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said its human rights obligations, announced in 2017, do not apply to the 2022 Winter Games. The IOC has failed to live up to its responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by conducting human rights due diligence despite well-documented abuses in China, the groups said. (ANI)