Coalition Pushes To Boycott Beijing Olympic Games, Citing Treatment Of Uyghurs, Tibetans And Hong Kongers

(Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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A coalition representing minorities in China are calling for countries to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, The Associated Press reported Monday.

The coalition, representing the people of Hong Kong, Uyghur Muslims and Tibetans, released a statement Monday advocating for a boycott of the Olympics to put more pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Olympic sponsors, athletes and sports federations, according to The Associated Press.

“The Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uyghur people and waging an unprecedented campaign of repression in East Turkistan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia, as well as an all-out assault on democracy in Hong Kong,” the Monday statement reads.

It also accused the IOC of deciding “to put profit before human lives and turn a blind eye to genocide.”

“Participating in the Beijing Olympic Games at this time would be tantamount to endorsing China’s genocide against the Uyghur people, and legitimizing the increasingly repressive policies of the totalitarian Chinese regime,” the statement added.

The pressure campaign comes in the wake of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee claiming that boycotts are ineffective and harm Olympic athletes, The Associated Press previously reported. On Tuesday, a joint congressional hearing will evaluate China’s human rights record and how it relates to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics slated to start in early February, according to The Associated Press. The U.S. State Department recently acknowledged that “genocide and crimes against humanity” have been perpetrated against the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang province of China in a report. (RELATED: UK Joins America In Calling China’s Treatment Of Uyghurs A Genocide)

“People have worked to engage with the IOC in good faith to have them understand the issues directly from the mouths of those most impacted — the Uyghurs at the top of that list and the Tibetans and others,” Lhadon Tethong, a member of the Tibet Action Institute, told The Associated Press. “It’s clear the IOC is completely uninterested in what the real impacts on the ground for people are.”

“The time for talking with the IOC is over,” Tethong continued. “This cannot be games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community.” (RELATED: China Tightens Grip On Hong Kong, Changes Election Law To Ensure Loyalty)

Tethong was deported from China in 2007 for Tibet-related activism, according to The Associated Press.

The IOC, based in Switzerland, said it must be “neutral” regarding political matters.

“We [the IOC] are not a super-world government,” IOC President Thomas Back said in early March. The IOC has observer status at the United Nations, according to The Associated Press.

China has denied putting Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps among other human rights violations. The Chinese Communist Party’s foreign ministry recently criticized “the politicization of sports,” and asserted that Olympic boycotts would be “doomed to fail,” according to The Associated Press report.