For Immediate Release:
3 February 2021
Dorjee Tseten, Students for a Free Tibet, +91 7807885951
Zumretay Arkin, World Uyghur Congress, +49 15733405314
John Jones, Free Tibet, +44 7770 681938
Teng Biao, China Against the Death Penalty, +1 (617) 396-6099
Gloria Montgomery, International Tibet Network, +44 7541 362001
Activists warn anything less will be an endorsement of China’s blatant disregard for civil and human rights.
The IOC has failed to uphold ‘Olympic Values’ so far, but still have time to reverse ‘past mistakes’
Today, just one-year ahead of the opening of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, a coalition of Tibetan, Uyghur, Southern Mongolian, Hong Kong, Taiwanese, Chinese Democracy, and human rights campaign groups issued an open letter  to governments warning they must support a diplomatic boycott the Games or risk emboldening China’s appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent. The letter was launched as part of a global campaign marking the year-countdown to the proposed opening of the 2022 Games. 
The joint letter, signed by 180+ global campaign groups and associations, outlines how the prestige of hosting the 2008 Olympic Games “merely emboldened the Chinese government’s actions” and led to “a gross increase on the assault on communities living under its rule.”
Since 2008 the situation in occupied Tibet has dramatically deteriorated and has been transformed into a surveillance state with over 1,000 political prisoners facing torture and even death; in East Turkistan (Ch: Xinjiang) between 1.8 and three million Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples are arbitrarily detained in “re-education camps,” enduring inhuman treatment and political indoctrination; in Hong Kong, the city’s vibrant community of human rights activists and outspoken youths have been rounded up by the thousands for simply advocating for democracy; in Southern Mongolia, children are being deprived of their right to speak their mother tongue, as the Chinese government has intensified its crackdown on cultural differences. China’s reach extends to extreme intimidation and geopolitical bullying of Taiwan and aggression and expansion across borders in the South China Sea and India-Tibet border, which present a clear threat to regional and global security.
For two decades representatives of the coalition have repeatedly sought to inform the IOC about these conditions, explain the dangers of awarding China the Olympic Games, and caution against accepting any human rights assurances from one of the world’s worst human rights violators.
With the International Olympic Committee completely failing to take action despite clear evidence of genocide and widespread and worsening human rights failures the coalition states that “it now falls on governments to take a stand and demonstrate that they have the political will to push back against China’s reprehensible human rights abuses.’
Dorjee Tseten of Students for a Free Tibet said: “Hosting the games in a country committing genocide, ethnic cleansing, and occupation is akin to endorsing these crimes. It is unfortunate that history is repeating what happened 82 years ago with the Nazi Olympics in 1936: hosting the Games in Berlin helped legitimize Hitler’s genocide against the Jewish people and bolstered the Nazi regime. Governments and the international community must boycott the Beijing 2022 Games and take a stand to uphold the values of democracy, freedom, and human rights.
Zumretay Arkin of World Uyghur Congress said: “The Winter Games 2022 being awarded to China was a slap on the face of every Uyghur, Tibetan, Southern Mongolian, Hong Konger, Taiwanese, and Chinese democracy activists. Our sufferings were completely dismissed by the IOC. It’s now up to the governments to act on it, and show some decent humanity by boycotting a genocide Olympics.’’
John Jones of Free Tibet said: “The IOC’s ongoing insistence that the 2022 Winter Games take place in Beijing, a city from which the CCP is directing genocide, brutal security crackdowns, and cultural destruction, becomes more absurd and vicious every day. No lessons have been learned from 2008 and horrific new mistakes are being made. The only way we can begin to remove this stain on our collective conscience is for governments to carry out a diplomatic boycott.”
Gloria Montgomery of International Tibet Network said: “With the IOC unwilling to act, it is more urgent than ever for world leaders to take strong and coordinated action to boycott the 2022 Winter Games and send a clear message that Beijing’s aggressive crackdown on freedoms will not be tolerated. Leaders now face a moment of truth: will their legacy include sitting idly by as the Chinese authorities wage an unprecedented assault on human rights or will they stand on the side of justice?”
Teng Biao of China Against the Death Penalty said: “To give the honor of hosting the Olympic Games not once, but twice, to a dictatorial regime that is committing genocide and assaulting human dignity would bring immense disgrace to the Olympic movement and display a total contempt for human rights.”
HYPERLINKS FOR WEBPAGES:
- Freedom House, Freedom in the World — Country Report, https://freedomhouse.org/countries/freedom-world/scores?sort=asc&order=Total%20Score%20and%20Status
- Committee to Protect Journalists: https://cpj.org/data/imprisoned/2019/?status=Imprisoned&start_year=2019&end_year=2019&group_by=location