FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 17 March 2021
Pema Doma | Students for a Free Tibet | +1 (617) 792-3606 | PemaDoma@studentsforafreetibet.org
Rushan Abbas | Campaign for Uyghurs | +1 (559) 375-3571 | Rushan614@gmail.com
Frances Hui | We the Hongkongers | +1 (425) 245-4818 | Franceswthui@protonmail.com
TIBETAN JAILED DURING 2008 BEIJING OLYMPICS AND UYGHUR CONCENTRATION CAMP SURVIVOR SPEAK AT PRESS CONFERENCE AHEAD OF BLINKEN-WANG YI MEETING.
WASHINGTON DC, March 17th—Today, representatives from the Tibetan, Uyghur, and Hong Konger communities in the US launched a campaign to urge President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games due to the genocide of the Uyghur people and the gross human rights violations in Tibet and Hong Kong. Ahead of Secretary Blinken’s meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, activists are calling for the Biden administration to consider an Olympic boycott.
Activists will also commemorate the first official state meeting between FM Wang Yi and Secretary Blinken by launching a petition calling on the Biden administration to support and lead a coordinated global boycott of the “Genocide Games” which has already garnered backing of more than 20 US-based organizations, including the Washington DC College Democrats, Fang Collective, and major Hong Kong, Uyghur, and Tibetan human rights organizations.
Today’s press conference featured prominent survivors of Chinese government atrocities.
Dhondup Wangchen, Tibetan filmmaker who was jailed during the 2008 Summer Olympics pleaded with the US government to learn from history’s past mistakes:
“The sole reason I was imprisoned in 2008 was because of my strong stance against China hosting the Olympics and my documentary filmmaking. Now, in 2021, here we are again with China being allowed to host the 2022 Olympics. The situation right now is beyond us Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hongkongers, and Taiwanese. It’s about human rights, a universal issue. I am urging the Biden administration and Secretary Blinken to take some responsibility and safeguard human rights.”
Tursunay Ziawudun, Uyghur camp survivor recently featured in the BBC’s report on sytematic rape in East Turkestan, dsecribed the torture she and other Uyghurs experienced:
“In the camps, I faced so many indescribable horrors. My head was shaved and I was subjected to sexual abuse, rape, and political indoctrination. Not just females experienced this, but males were also raped and tortured. These are all things I saw with my own eyes. Even if you survive the camps, you end up losing your mind or having serious health conditions. I am no longer in a camp but I still endure serious health conditions….I cannot believe that this genocidal country is being allowed to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. I cannot believe that so many countries are willing to go and participate in these Games.”
Representatives from the Tibetan, Uyghur, and Hong Konger movements also spoke about how the gravity of the situation of human rights in their own homes should justify a US boycott.
Pema Doma, Campaigns Director at Students for a Free Tibet spoke regarding the situation in Tibet:
“Our campaign strives to bring people from all backgrounds and all experiences together to stand alongside Tibetan, Uyghur, Hong Kong and Chinese people who are fighting against the vicious oppression of the Chinese government. Secretary Blinken and the Biden administration owe it to the American people to show the CCP what the US stands for. To stand up for freedom and rights and the dignity of all people. And to be the voice that says, genocide will not be tolerated – that genocide is absolutely the red line.”
Frances Hui, Director at We The Hongkongers, said:
“We are not trying to make athletes suffer. But we are asking for a relocation of the Olympic Games to a country free from genocide, censorship, and human right violations. And we are asking the American public and Secretary Blinken to stand with us when millions of Uyghurs are being held in camps, facing issues like systematic rape and ethnic cleansing. We are here because we believe in human conscience; we believe in justice; we believe in humanity.”
Rushan Abbas, Director at Campaign for Uyghurs, said:
“We, the international community, are not just bystanders, but participants in the genocide. Our corporations choose to sponsor these genocide games, while we debate the “cost” of a boycott. What is the cost of millions of Uyghur lives? Can you really say these innocent people are meaningless? Then we have lost our way! We are repeating the Berlin 1936 Games, when Hitler hosted. The world cannot claim ignorance as many did at that time. Even back then, there was enough for many to know this was an affront to humanity. To repeat the same mistakes is shocking!”