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Olympic officials dismissed Beijing’s human rights issue

Olympic officials dismissed Beijing’s human rights issue

Last fall, the International Olympic Committee held a video call with activists who requested the cancellation of Beijing as the venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics. In the conference call, activists stated that the Beijing Olympics will legitimize the Chinese government’s escalating human rights violations.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you have your own responsibilities,” replied Juan Antonio Samaranch, Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for the forthcoming Winter Olympics of the International Olympic Committee, according to the records of the same period seen by BuzzFeed News. . “We have ours.”

Activists pointed to the massive detention of Muslims in Xinjiang, the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong, and the continued suppression in Tibet. But based on notes and interviews with several related activists, IOC officials dismissed their problems by claiming that the 2008 Beijing Olympics improved air quality and public transportation.

Dozens of human rights organizations call it the “genocide Olympics” Has urged The International Olympic Committee transfers the game to a different country, some Compare The upcoming match against the 1936 match held in Nazi Germany. we with Canada Publicly claim that China’s treatment of Xinjiang Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities is genocide.

In response to the detailed list of questions in this article, the International Olympic Committee stated that it considered the views of non-governmental organizations on human rights and other issues in the Beijing Olympics. The committee stated that it raised these issues with the government and local authorities, and they assured it that they would respect the Olympic Charter.

The International Olympic Committee said in an email: “In view of the diversified participation of the Olympic Games, the IOC must remain neutral on all global political issues.” “Granting the Olympic Games to a National Olympic Committee does not mean that the International Olympics The committee agrees to its country’s political structure, social environment or human rights standards.”

The International Olympic Committee adheres to the human rights principles outlined in the Olympic Charter and stated that it “takes this responsibility very seriously.”

“At the same time,” it said, “the International Olympic Committee has neither the power nor the ability to change the legal or political system of a sovereign country. This must naturally preserve the legitimate role of the government and their respective intergovernmental organizations.”

International Olympic Committee many times Emphasize In responding to questions about the ethics of hosting the Olympic Games in China, it remained neutral. But in a private video call on October 6, 2020, IOC officials went further.

According to some activists who participated in the conference call, the conference call lasted more than an hour and was attended by six activists and five IOC officials. At first, it was full of hope, but eventually became tense.

Officials believe that the Olympics can be a catalyst for improving infrastructure. They mentioned the 2008 Summer Olympics and believed that when Beijing hosted that year, it stimulated improvements in infrastructure and air quality.

“They still have air quality problems, but they mentioned the blue sky as’Olympic Blue’ for the first time because…this is the first time they have seen blue air in Beijing,” an official said. notes.

Teng Biao, one of China’s most famous human rights lawyers, is on standby at any time. He told BuzzFeed News that he was not impressed.

“It is too difficult to defend the Chinese government in terms of human rights or the rule of law,” Teng told BuzzFeed News. “So they can only find things like environmental policies.”

He said: “The hosting of the Olympic Games in Beijing again can be seen as a recognition of the CCP’s brutality, including the Uyghur genocide.”

Teng lived in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games and he said, Like other human rights lawyersHe was banned from traveling, detaining and torturing while he was detained by the police before the game. He said that he told officials that his experience showed that hosting the Olympic Games in Beijing again would bring harm. The police could not be reached for comment. But IOC officials seemed indifferent, Teng said.

Samaranch, chairman of the International Olympic Committee Coordinating Committee, said on the conference call that the Olympics is “an extraordinary force for good”, bringing people of different races and religions “even political systems, ladies and gentlemen, and even political systems.” Gather together. Notes seen by BuzzFeed News.

“The world lives under many political systems,” he added. “We can’t speak and support one of them.”

Zumreay Arkin, Project and Propaganda Manager of the World Uyghur Congress, told IOC officials on the phone that she had missing relatives in Xinjiang. She said officials told her they were sorry to hear the news, but the world is a complicated place-notes and other activists who attended the meeting echoed the memories.

Akin told BuzzFeed News that she strongly opposed the views of officials of the International Olympic Committee. “Since 2008, everything has gotten worse,” she said. “We have a full-scale genocide, we have someone in a concentration camp, you mean the situation hasn’t gotten worse?”

“We are being affected by these policies,” she added. “You would never consider hosting a competition in North Korea or elsewhere. Why is China different?”

Dorje Cidan, the executive director of the Free Tibet Student Organization, said he told officials that he and others risked revenge for themselves and their families in public protests against the decision of the International Olympic Committee.He also pointed out that many Buddhist monks and other Tibetans have been detained or Be killed In the government’s decades-long election campaign.Violent demonstration Broke out in Tibet Before the 2008 Olympics, the then President of the International Olympic Committee The protesters said It is the “crisis” of the organization. But the officials in the video call didn’t seem to care, Tseten said.

“I was shocked,” he said. “How do I explain those cold faces? They don’t even admit the pain.”

Arkin, Teng and Tseten said that discussions with the International Olympic Committee have continued since October, including the second conference call this month, but Arkin said there are no substantive changes. American politician And Europe, Including Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyIn recent months, it has called on governments to boycott the Olympics. Critics say this may unfairly punish athletes. But activists said they believe that diplomatic boycott is their only option, because the IOC is unlikely to change the Olympics.

Human rights groups are also seeking to pressure companies such as Airbnb Sever sponsorship And the 2022 Olympics.

Tseten and others who participated in the pre-Olympic protests in 2008 said that China’s suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and the abuse in Xinjiang meant that they were even less defensive this time.

“We told them that in the end, this will be a game of genocide,” Tseten said. “And in history, the International Olympic Committee will fall as part of it.”

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