Rights groups urge IOC to strip Beijing of 2022 Winter Olympics

By: AFP      Published: 06:33 PM, 9 Sep, 2020
Rights groups urge IOC to strip Beijing of 2022 Winter Olympics

A coalition of human rights groups around the world has urged the International Olympic Committee to strip Beijing of the 2022 Winter Olympics over its rights record.

The call comes as China faces increased global scrutiny and backlash over its clampdown in Hong Kong and the mass internment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

The letter, dated Tuesday and signed by over 160 groups and addressed to the IOC president, warned that the 2022 Games "could even contribute to more repression" in China.

It charged that after the 2008 Summer Olympic Games were awarded to Beijing, there was a "gross increase on the assault on communities living under its rule".

The groups cited the internment of Uighurs in Xinjiang and the controversial new security law in Hong Kong as examples.

"Despite appeals... the IOC has repeated the same mistakes as the past and remained unresponsive to evidence of the sharp decline in human rights protections before and after the 2008 Games in Beijing," the letter said.

"The IOC must recognise that the Olympic spirit and the reputation of the Olympic Games will suffer further damage if the worsening human rights crisis, across all areas under China's control, is simply ignored."

Among its signatories are the Uyghur Human Rights Project, World Uyghur Congress, Tibetan Youth Congress and other Hong Kong and Mongolian rights groups based across several continents.

China has insisted that Xinjiang's internment camps are "vocational education centres", maintaining that its policies in regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet are for national security and to counter extremism.