FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3 February 2022
Mandie McKeown, International Tibet Network: +44 (0)7748 158 618
Zumretay Arkin, World Uyghur Congress: +49 176 61619262
Pema Doma, Students for a Free Tibet, +1 (617) 792-3606
John Jones, Free Tibet: +44 (0)7591 188383
Frances Hui, WeTheHongkongers: +1 425-245-4818
Lhadon Tethong, Tibet Action Institute: +1 917-418-4181
Zoe Bedford, Australia Tibet Council: +61 408 262 576
ACTIVISTS CALL FOR IOC PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH TO BE FIRED STATING THE OLYMPICS COMMITTEE IS ‘UNFIT FOR PURPOSE’
ATHLETES EXPECTED TO BOYCOTT BEIJING 2022 OPENING CEREMONY AS THE PUBLIC IS URGED TO BOYCOTT VIEWING THE WINTER OLYMPICS
[New York]: Tibetan, Uyghur, Hongkonger, Chinese, Taiwanese, and other protesters have taken to the streets around the globe to demonstrate against the International Olympic Committee’s failure to hold China accountable for their serious and worsening human rights abuses.
Protests against the Beijing 2022 Winter Games are taking place in over 65 cities around the world, including Sydney, Tokyo, New Delhi, London, New York, San Francisco and Mexico City as the Games themselves open in Beijing. 
Protesters slammed the IOC and its President, Thomas Bach, for their decision to award a second Olympics to Beijing,  despite the Chinese government’s well-documented, serious and widespread human rights abuses, including torture, mass-detentions, religious and cultural repression, forced labor, violence by police and security forces and its treatment of the Uyghur people, which a growing number of governments have recognised as a genocide. 
Protest organizers raise strong concern over the Chinese government’s use of the Beijing Winter Games to “sportswash” human rights abuses, and have urged athletes to boycott the Opening and Closing Ceremonies  in an act of resistance against the Chinese government’s propaganda display. The public has also been called on to boycott Beijing 2022, with a rapidly growing number of people committing to not watching the Winter Games. Audiences are instead being urged to view a special #IWillNotWatch alternative opening ceremony  and festival of alternative films, music, and live performances by Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hongkongers, and Chinese rights activists for the duration of the Winter Olympics. 
Pema Doma, Campaigns Director at Students for a Free Tibet said: “By allowing China to host the 2022 Winter Olympics Thomas Bach and his cronies have given a green light to Xi Jinping that the Uyghur genocide and the occupation of Tibet don’t matter. Any tiny shred of integrity that the IOC may have had left before today has completely dissolved leaving them utterly unfit for purpose.”
Zumretay Arkin, World Uyghur Congress said: “Due to the superhuman efforts of campaigners around the world, governments, sponsors and the public are waking up to the fact that these Games are nothing less than a propaganda event for a government carrying out genocide. The only way forward for the IOC is top to bottom reform, with the likes of Thomas Bach sent packing.”
Frances Hui, We The Hongkongers said: “The IOC has learned absolutely nothing from all the wrongs of the 2008 Beijing Olympics when China was given carte blanche to use the Games as a massive public relations exercise, but more likely, the IOC does not care about human rights. Sucking up to regimes like the CCP will only get you so far, though. The IOC now finds itself under attack from all sides, tainted by its complicity in the CCP’s abuses and in need of root and branch reform. The Olympic spirit will not survive unless anything less than the complete overhaul of the IOC takes place immediately.”
Lhadon Tethong, Tibet Action Institute, said: “The Chinese government is using the Olympics to help cover up genocide and crimes against humanity, including separating at least 800,000 Tibetan children from their families and making them live in colonial boarding schools. The athletes, sponsors, and officials taking part in the Beijing Games are fully aware of China’s atrocities and will be complicit if they don’t take immediate action and speak out. Full stop. History will judge those who stay silent harshly.”
Mandie McKeown, International Tibet Network said: “The IOC has long struggled with controversy but Beijing 2022 is at an all-time low. By allowing these tainted, bloodstained Winter Games to go ahead, the IOC has brushed aside facts of torture, forced labour, and genocide instead rewarding the Chinese government – one of the world’s worst oppressor and human rights abusers.”
Kamaltürk Yalqun, Campaign for Uyghurs said: ‘’At the age of 17 when I carried the torch for 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, I was genuinely thrilled to be part of an event that was supposed to be promoting friendship, sportsmanship, and a sense of global citizenship. Looking back at it now, I realized the biggest aim of China for holding the 2008 Olympics was to showcase the prestige of CCP to the world and to nurture a zealot nationalism in its borders. Today, in light of the gross human rights violations of China against Uyghurs, Tibetans, and others, it has become more crucial than ever for us to stand up in solidarity against China and to demonstrate our decisiveness to stop China from continuing its human rights violations and atrocities.’’
John Jones from Free Tibet said: “If awards were handed out for poor decision making, the members of the IOC would struggle under the weight of all the gold medals around their necks. To award one Olympic event to the Chinese Communist Party is foolish, but to give it a second was criminal. Thanks to the IOC’s persistent support for the CCP, attention that should be focussed on torture and genocide will instead be diverted to fireworks and medal ceremonies. There can be no excuses anymore. The IOC is complicit in the CCP’s crimes. It must be reformed from top to bottom.”
Dr Zoȅ Bedford from Australia Tibet Council said: “Campaigners around the world have joined forces to take on the CCP and the IOC and we are winning the argument. Governments are boycotting, sponsors are nervous, athletes are speaking out. Because of our efforts, the narrative running up to Beijing 2022 is not about who will win the bobsleigh, but how many political prisoners are locked up under CCP rule. Now we are calling on the public to switch off these bloodstained Winter Games and join our movement for freedom, justice and human rights.”
Tenzyn Zöchbauer form Tibet Initiative Deutschland said: “The IOC and its sponsors are wearing blinkers and ignoring the human rights allegations against the Chinese government. This reckless behavior is unacceptable; Tibetans are being tortured, Uyghurs are being wiped out, and freedoms in Hong Kong are demolished. We need governments, sports committees and companies who show civic courage, respect human rights and protect democratic values. The Beijing Games are proof of how strong China’s influence is abroad.”
The Olympic Committee’s continual refusal to consider moving the Winter Games and its refusal to address concerns of those directly affected by Chinese Communist Party rule has been met with a global campaign, targeting governments, sponsors, broadcasters and national Olympic associations. Numerous victories have been achieved with multiple governments publicly stating they will boycott the Winter Games due to human rights concerns.  Multiple reports have also highlighted the discomfort of several official sponsors in being associated with the Beijing Winter Games. 
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Global Protests Map: https://nobeijing2022.org/protests/
- The NoBeijing2022 has been communicating with the International Olympic Committee, concerning the 2022 Winter Games, since 2015:
March 2015: Campaigners warn IOC that giving 2022 Games to Beijing will be “making the same mistake twice” and release a report “Losing the Bet on Human Rights” https://tibetnetwork.org/olympics2022/
September 2020: The coalition delivered a letter by over 160 groups urging for the 2022 Olympics to be moved – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cjCaxGD0w979EzFx7JYjprp0skNc-dZW/view?usp=sharing
October 2020: Coalition representatives held an online meeting with the IOC, including Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr and Christophe Dubi, Olympic Committee Executive Director – https://tibetnetwork.org/ioc_meeting_beijing2022/
March 2020: Coalition representatives held a second meeting with IOC Director of Communications – https://zumretay.medium.com/beijing-2022-boycott-is-the-only-option-23de017b579b
- The detention of at least two million Uyghur, Kazakh, and Turkic people in “re-education camps”, where they are forced to endure systematic torture, rape, and political re-education.
- The separation of at least 80% of Tibetan children from their parents and into colonial boarding schools, where they face intense political indoctrination.
- Draconian security measures in Hong Kong, including the National Security Bill, which have effectively criminalized protest and removed what civil liberties existed in Hong Kong.
- Attacks on the culture and language of Southern Mongolians and violence against protesters opposed to these policies.
- NoBeijing2022 Athletes Guide to Beijing 2022: https://nobeijing2022.org/athletes-guide-to-beijing-2022/
- The Beijing 2022 Alternative Opening Ceremony will be streamed live from 8 PM Beijing | 12 NOON UK | 7:00 AM EST at https://youtu.be/j0msGq2tzlM
- IWillNotWatch Festival Streaming Page: https://nobeijing2022.org/iwillnotwatch/
- Government Boycott Announcements – Confirmation: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1L8nHfPwSC4vi5o1NH584lGibdOAquqPzLWbE87O8h_o/
- ‘Olympic sponsors paid big money for the Beijing Games. So where are all the ads?’, CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/28/business/olympic-sponsors-beijing-games-mic-intl-hnk/index.html