Joint Letter to 2022 Olympic Broadcasters – Students for a Free Tibet
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Joint Letter to 2022 Olympic Broadcasters

September 7, 2021

Dear Tom Buhrow, Chairman; Tim Davie, Director General; Mirko Bibic, President and Chief Executive Officer; Hubert T. Lacroix, President and Chief Executive Officer; David M. Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer; JB Perrette, President & Chief Executive Officer; Merete Eldrup, Chief Executive Officer; Andrew Georgiou, President; Giorgos Gampritsos, Chief Executive Officer; Delphine Ernotte Cunci, Chief Executive Officer; Jorge Nóbrega, Chief Executive Officer; Kazimir Bacic, Director General; Dániel Papp, Chief Executive Officer;  Jeff Shell, Chief Executive Officer; Gerard Timmer, Chief Executive Officer;  Joe Natale, President and Chief Executive Officer; Jean-Paul Philippot, Chief Executive Officer; Stefán Eiríksson, Director General; José Manuel Pérez Tornero, Executive President; James Warburton, Chief Executive Officer; Sophie Maloney, Chief Executive Officer; Calvo Mawela, Chief Executive Officer; Marc Jury, Chief Executive Officer; Merja Ylä-Anttila, Chief Executive Officer; Dr. Thomas Bellut, Chief Executive Officer; 

We, a coalition of over 200 global campaign groups representing Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hongkongers, Chinese, Southern Mongolians, Taiwanese, and other affected and concerned communities, are writing to you as the planned broadcasters of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games to urge you immediately cancel your broadcasting deals.

All of your companies are at serious risk of being complicit in China’s plan to ‘sport wash’ the severe and worsening human rights abuses and embolden the actions of the Chinese authorities. By broadcasting Beijing 2022 your companies will legitimize these abuses and promote what is being widely described as the ‘Genocide Games’. 

Most of the media companies addressed in this letter have established policies that claim to promote and protect human rights with strong commitments to adhering to global standards. Furthermore, a number of your companies are members of the ‘TV Industry Human Rights Forum,’ sit on acclaimed human rights boards or have specific ethics commissioners. All of these public commitments to standing up for human rights are to be lauded – by us and by your viewers – but these efforts will be entirely overshadowed by the abuses going on away from the cameras if you continue to support the Beijing Winter Olympics. Human rights commitments mean nothing if not accompanied by meaningful action; the sheer scale and severity of China’s human rights abuses demand serious attention and action. 

The Chinese government has publicly stated that Beijing 2022 will be “open and inclusive”, create a “harmonious world” and promote “social progress” – just as it did ahead of the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, but to no avail. For those living under China’s oppressive rule, daily life is anything but; it is instead characterized by a merciless crackdown on individual and collective rights and freedom, an all-out assault on cultural diversity, and a tearing apart of community cohesion through sophisticated methods of surveillance and control. 

At least two million Muslims – including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks – are locked in “re-education camps” undergoing systematic torture and political re-education. The situation in occupied Tibet has dramatically deteriorated and in 2021 it was ranked by Freedom House as the least free place in the world for civil and political rights, alongside Syria. In Hong Kong, where Beijing has implemented a draconian National Security Law that bans acts of “splittism, subversion, foreign intervention, and terrorism”, freedom and democracy are under attack, and youth activists are being rounded up and imprisoned en masse. In mainland China, the Chinese authorities routinely disappear government critics, feminists, and academics, as they attempt to stifle all forms of peaceful dissent. At the same time, Beijing has intensified its decades-long tactics of geopolitical bullying and intimidation of democraticTaiwan.

Much like in 2008, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has attempted to counter concerns about human rights abuses in China by asserting that the Games will positively affect China’s rights record. The IOC also pledged to take action should China fall short in meeting its human rights promises. Subsequent developments showed this faith to be misplaced as the Chinese government repeatedly backtracked on the human rights pledges it made to secure the right to host the Games and there was no accountability by the IOC and the international community. Instead, China was given a free pass to wantonly violate human rights and fundamental freedoms. 

A letter from Human Rights Watch to the IOC recently raised the fact that the 2022 Games will take place in a human rights environment significantly worse than that of 2008. The Beijing 2022 Games simply cannot go ahead without serious global opposition; the lessons from 2008 must be learned. 

We urge you to immediately cancel your plans to broadcast the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games, or risk being forever tainted by your partnership with China’s “Genocide Games”. 

Genocide must be a red line that cannot be crossed, no matter the cost.

We also request the opportunity to meet with representatives of your company to discuss our serious concerns regarding the situation facing Tibetan, Uyghur, Hong Kong, Southern Mongolian, and Chinese activists. 

Please contact Mandie McKeown ( to discuss arranging this meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Mandie McKeown – Executive Director, International Tibet Network – on behalf of:

Dorjee Tseten, Students for a Free Tibet
Dolkun Isa, World Uyghur Congress
Rushan Abbas, Campaign for Uyghurs
Frances Hui, WeTheHongKongers
John Jones, Free Tibet
Tashi Shitsetsang, Tibetan Youth Association Europe
Omer Kanat, Uyghur Human Rights Project
Jenny Wang, Keep Taiwan Free
Teng Biao, China Against the Death Penalty
周锋锁 Zhou Fengsuo, Humanitarian China
Zoe Bedford, Australia Tibet Council
Mattias Bjornerstedt, Swedish Tibet Committee
Enghebatu Togochog, Southern Mongolian Human Rights Center
Lhadon Tethong, Tibet Action Institute