Activists urge athletes to speak out at Beijing Olympics



Human rights activists issued a call to action against the Beijing Olympics on Friday, urging athletes and sponsors to speak out against what they called a “genocide game.” .

Speaking at an online news conference organized by human rights group Human Rights Watch, activists representing China’s dissidents and the Uyghur and Tibetan minorities called for International attendees voiced their opposition to China’s hosting of the Olympics starting next week.

“The 2022 Winter Olympics will be remembered as a game of genocide,” said Teng Biao, a human rights activist in China and now a visiting professor at the University of Chicago.

He added: “The purpose of the CCP is to precisely turn the sports arena into a stage for political legitimacy and a tool to whitewash all of those atrocities,” he added, referring to to the ruling Communist Party of China.

China’s repression under hard-line ruler Xi Jinping has been felt across many walks of life. 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 cracking down on dissidents, leading to the arrests. keep activists and disband civil society groups.

Meanwhile, in the country’s western Xinjiang region, an estimated 1 million people or more – mostly Uyghurs – have been detained in re-education camps in recent years, according to researchers. .

An informal, independent body set up by prominent British lawyer to assess evidence of China’s alleged human rights abuses against Uyghurs ends in December that the Chinese government committed genocide. China has always denied any human rights abuses in the region and claims it takes actions against extremism in the region to ensure the safety of its people.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin hit back at the human rights group for continuing to call for a boycott of the Olympics, saying that “the so-called human rights groups have prejudices against China and want to do bad things.” . The lies and rumors it fabricated were unpopular. Its egregious acts that damage the Olympic cause will never succeed. ”

The State Department has also said that the Olympics should not be politicized. However, the rival is facing a US-led diplomatic boycott, whose relationship with China has declined over the past few years.

Activists have failed to achieve a complete boycott of the games, but have continued to speak out.

“Your silence is their strength. This is what they want more than anything: that the world will follow China’s rules, that we will follow China’s lead, that we will stay away from atrocities and crimes. this evil for the sake of business as usual,” Lhadon Tethong, director of the Tibet Action Institute, at a press conference on Friday.

She directly called on athletes from the US, UK, France and others to speak.

“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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