Joint Statement: Rights Groups Unite in Brussels on International Olympic Day. Pressure Mounts to Boycott Beijing 2022 – ‘The Genocide Games’

Governments, Olympic Committees and Sponsors All Targeted to Ditch Support for Beijing 2022; China’s Uyghur Genocide Cited as a ‘Red Line’

[23 June 2021] On International Olympic Day [1], the Belgium Uyghur Association, together with other rights groups representing Tibetan, Uyghur, Southern Mongolian, Hongkonger, Taiwanese, and Chinese people, held a protest at the Schuman Roundabout in Brussels, Belgium, calling upon the European Union to take a firm stance against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in light of the Chinese Government’s severe human rights atrocities.

The protest in Brussels was part of a Global Day of Action, during which campaigners united around the globe in over 50 global cities calling on world leaders, National Olympic Committees, Olympic Sponsors and all people of conscience to boycott Beijing 2022, ‘The Genocide Games.’ From New Zealand to Canada, Japan to Argentina, Australia to Sweden [2], thousands of people came together to deliver the joint message that China must not be allowed to use Beijing 2022 to ‘sport-wash’ [3] the genocide against the Uyghur people, the severe and escalating repression in Tibet, Southern Mongolia, Hong Kong, and China proper, and the geopolitical bullying of Taiwan. [4]

Dolkun Isa from World Uyghur Congress said: “In the face of China carrying out a genocide against Uyghurs and serious crimes against Tibetans, Mongolians, Hong Kongers and others, the decision to grant China the honour to host the Olympics games, which are about celebrating diversity, peace, and respect, remains unjustifiable. Today, we therefore called upon the European Union to use Olympic Day to commit to not supporting China’s heinous human rights abuses and say no to Beijing 2022.”

Vincent Metten from the International Campaign for Tibet said Given the inaction of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) on human rights in China and the worsening of the situation since the last Summer Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008,  ICT calls for governments to boycott the 2022 Games and refrain from attending in any capacity at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2022. ICT calls on governments to press national Olympic committees and the IOC to raise human rights concerns with the Chinese government, to educate athletes about the human rights situation in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and other areas”. 

Ralph Bunche from Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization said: “There is a growing recognition of an active genocide being committed in China by a brutal, authoritarian regime that detests ethnic and religious difference and promotes a dominant ethnic ideal. Holding the Olympics in China now will legitimize that regime and repudiate all that the Olympics is meant to stand for.”  

Support for a boycott of Beijing 2022 has grown exponentially since activists released a joint letter to governments in September 2020. [5] Parliaments and elected representatives from across the political divide agree that supporting the Beijing 2022 Olympics is tantamount to endorsing China’s human rights abuses. [6]

As human rights experts warned, the 2008 Summer Games led to a further crackdown on human rights and took place without any meaningful human rights due diligence. Contrary to China’s commitment to hold a “free and open” Olympic Games in 2008, Beijing continued to clamp down on the international media, and quashed all freedom of expression for Tibetans wishing to voice their opinions about the Games. 

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. https://olympians.org/news/51/olympians-all-over-the-world-celebrate-olympic-day/

2. Protests are taking place in at least 55 towns and cities including Wellington (NZ); Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane (AU); Jakarta (ID); Tokyo, Fukuoka (JP); Taipei (TW); New Delhi, Dharamsala (IN); Jo’Burg (SA); Rome (IT); Prague (CZ); Lausanne, Zurich (SW); Vienna (AS); Paris (FR); Barcelona (SP); Lisbon (PT); Brussels (BE); Luxembourg (LU); London, Edinburgh, Bristol, Birmingham (UK); Stockholm (SE); Oslo (NO); Copenhagen (DN); New York, Newark, Boston, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Eugene, San Francisco (US); Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver (CA); Mexico City (MX); Buenos Aires (AG) See the global map of protests at NoBeijing2022.org

3. Sport-washing is identified as being employed by authoritarian regimes that use mega-sports events to reboot their reputations.

4 The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is set to happen amid one of the world’s worst crackdowns against freedom, democracy, and human rights where:

– At least two million Uyghur, Kazakh and Uzbek Muslims are detained in “re-education camps” undergoing systematic torture, rape and political re-education, https://xjdp.aspi.org.au/explainers/uyghurs-for-sale/;

– Illegally occupied Tibet received the lowest score in Freedom House’s 2020 global ranking on civil and political rights, alongside Syria, https://freedomhouse.org/countries/freedom-world/scores?sort=asc&order=Total%20Score%20and%20Status;

– In Hong Kong, the Chinese government has implemented a draconian National Security Bill that effectively criminalizes protest and curtails any remaining human rights, https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3086601/hong-kong-protests-nearly-100-children-among-396-arrested;

– Protests by Southern Mongolians, whose rights, language and culture being eradicated, are put down with force;

– Detention & disappearance of countless Chinese lawyers, feminists & activists, and- Intimidation, and

– Geopolitical bullying of Taiwan and aggression and expansion across borders – in the South China Sea and India-Tibet border – present a clear threat to regional and global security.

5. MPs call to relocate 2022 Beijing Games over China’s reported abuses of Uighur minority: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mps-call-for-relocation-of-2022-beijing-olympics-1.5904286.

Czech Senate Calls for Political Boycott of Winter Olympics in China: https://praguemorning.cz/czech-senate-calls-for-political-boycott-of-winter-olympics-in-china/

6.IPAC coordinates legislative actions on Beijing Olympics across 11 parliaments: https://ipac.global/ipac-coordinates-legislative-actions-across-11-parliaments-on-beijing-olympics/.

Pelosi calls for U.S. and world leaders to boycott China’s 2022 Olympics: https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/pelosi-says-us-should-diplomatically-boycott-2022-olympics-china-2021-05-1