Participation, by countries and sponsors both, in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is “indefensible” in light of the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing genocide against the ethnic Uyghur people and other Muslim-majority minorities of East Turkestan, the World Uyghur Congress told Breitbart News.
“Enabling China to host the Olympics and to use it as a promotional event without addressing its human rights crises sends a signal to China that the international community will not hold it accountable,” Koen Stoop, the E.U. policy director for the World Uyghur Congress, told Breitbart News in a recent statement. “This will only encourage the Chinese regime to continue its crimes against Uyghurs and others.”
The World Uyghur Congress advocates for the rights of Uyghur people around the world in light of decades of persecution at the hands of Chinese communists. China administers the Uyghur homeland of East Turkestan as “Xinjiang,” its westernmost province. While violent state repression has taken place there for years, dictator Xi Jinping greatly exacerbated the severity and frequency of human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, such as the Kazakh and Kyrgyz people, in 2017, building concentration camps to house millions of members of the Muslim ethnic groups. Survivors of the camps say they endured extreme torture, forced sterilizations and abortions, routine gang rape and rape with electric devices, slavery, and medical examinations that suggest live organ harvesting.
The United States, under both Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, have formally declared the atrocities committed against Uyghurs in East Turkestan a genocide.
“Allowing China to host the Olympics, a very prestigious international event, in light of the Uyghur genocide and numerous other human rights abuses, is indefensible,” Stoop asserted. “The Chinese government will undoubtedly make use of this occasion to promote itself to the rest of the world, presenting a China as a state that, contrary to reality, is not one of the worst human rights violators of this century.”
Stoop called a full boycott of the Games by participating nations “the most appropriate action without any doubt … given an ongoing genocide happening.”
“As some countries have already indicated they will not go for a full boycott, a diplomatic boycott also sends a signal that the government in question does not condone China as a host,” Stoop added. “Countries should also inform their athletes of the repressive environment that they will participate in.”
The World Uyghur Congress official also urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which awarded China the honor of hosting the Olympic games, to ensure that China does not use Uyghur slave labor to manufacture Olympic uniforms or other necessary goods for the event. Human rights groups have found slavery to be among the most common human rights abuses China is currently committing against the Uyghur people currently – Chinese companies can buy Uyghur slaves from the state using mobile phone applications.
“Ordinary people themselves can make efforts to inform themselves about the human rights abuses taking place in China, and spread this information to other people as well,” Stoop advised. “Furthermore, sponsors of the Olympics also have a shared responsibility to not lend their support to China’s human rights abuses by sponsoring the Games.”
The World Uyghur Congress is far from alone in urging the sponsors of the Winter Games – which include such big names as Coca-Cola, Visa, and Intel – to drop out.
“The international community has a rare opportunity to send a strong signal that China’s rights abuses are unacceptable,” David Curry, the CEO of the Christian aid organization Open Doors USA, told Breitbart News this month. “The International Olympic Committee should re-evaluate its role in rewarding the CCP’s bad behavior with the 2022 Games, and corporate sponsors should consider withdrawing their support.”
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) called corporate representatives of several of the major sponsors into a hearing in July about their participation in the Beijing Olympics. Officials from Coca-Cola, Visa, Intel, Airbnb, and Procter & Gamble testified; only the representative from Intel agreed with the U.S. government’s assessment that China was guilty of genocide against the Uyghur people. Most representatives insisted they played no role in the IOC’s choice of host country and should thus not be held accountable for supporting that country.
“You are afraid of [China] in a way that you are not afraid of critics in the United States. I think that’s shameful,” Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), a member of the CECC, said at the hearing.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) described the representatives at the hearing as “pathetic and disgraceful.”
Pressure on both sponsors and the IOC to drop the Beijing Games in light of the ongoing genocide has greatly increased as the Opening Ceremonies in February 2022 near, but has been ongoing for at least a year. In anticipation of the Games, a group of over 150 human rights organizations published an open letter in February of this year calling for a universal, global boycott of the Beijing Games. The groups especially encouraged the United States to participate in the boycott as the leader of the free world.
“Anything less [than a full boycott] will be seen as an endorsement of the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian rule and blatant disregard for civil and human rights,” the letter read, echoing the World Uyghur Congress’s statement.
“Right now, the world is divided into the free world and the totalitarian world. America is the leader of the free world. It’s important for the world that America is a strong country holding the principle of freedom highly,” Hidetoshi Ishii, the head of the Free Indo-Pacific Alliance, one of the signatories of the letter, told Breitbart News in February. “If America shows weakness towards totalitarian and autocratic countries, then freedom will be lost from this world. We need [a] strong America that’s holding the principle of freedom highly.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price said in April that the Biden administration was considering boycotting the Beijing Games, but his boss, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, contradicted him days later, stating in an interview that any discussion of a boycott was, at the time, “premature.”