PRESS RELEASE: WUC Calls on International Olympic Committee to Reconsider China’s Hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics

Press Release– For immediate release
30 July 2020
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

 The WUC calls on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reconsider allowing China to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and to urgently address concerns raised by the WUC and other parties, given that the Chinese government is actively committing genocide, crimes against humanity, torture and other atrocities against Uyghurs. This decision is in contravention of the values and principles articulated in the Olympic Charter and to the spirit of the Olympics games. 

For more than three years, Uyghurs have been subjected to genocide and other atrocities from the Chinese government. In this time, Uyghurs have been forced to endure:

  • 1-3 million Uyghurs have been arbitrarily detained in internment camps where they are mistreated, tortured and indoctrinated to forsake their Uyghur ethnic identity. 
  • Hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs have been sent to forced labour facilities around China, in what is essentially modern slavery. 
  • The Chinese government is sterilizing Uyghur women and engaging in population control measures to diminish the Uyghur population.
  • Uyghur mosques, graveyards, shrines and other sites of cultural, religious or historical importance have been destroyed as the CCP tries to erase any physical representation of the Uyghur identity.
  • Uyghur children whose parents have disappeared into the camps are taken away to CCP run “orphanages” where they are indoctrinated to denounce their religion and ethnic identity.
  • Uyghur language is banned in many schools and public places in East Turkistan.
  • Religious persecution, in which the Chinese government has criminalized growing long beards, wearing an Islamic veil, owning a Quran and even the most quotidien religious practices. 

Uyghurs in the diaspora have had to watch as their family members in East Turkistan disappear or suffer incredibly at the hands of the Chinese government. Uyghurs have had to watch as the CCP tries to undermine everything that makes the Uyghur people unique and deprive Uyghurs the Uyghur people of a future. The Uyghur community has been desperate for the international community to intervene to save their friends and family and the Uyghur people as a whole. To see the IOC ignore their plight and allow the government committing genocide against them to host the Olympic Games would be deeply sad and disappointing.

The Chinese government has also been committing atrocities against Tibetans, Hong Kongers, Southern Mongolians, Han Chinese and all those who call for their basic rights and freedoms to be respected. The Chinese government is the worst violator of human rights in the world. It should be held accountable for its actions, not rewarded.

The message from the IOC should be simple, genocide, crimes against humanity and severe human rights violations cannot be tolerated and go against everything that the Olympic movement values and represents. Any country actively committing such heinous acts must not be allowed to host an event centred on humanity, solidarity, peace and fraternity. To allow China to host the 2022 Winter Olympics would stain the good name and intentions of the Olympic Movement.

The decision to allow Nazi Germany to host the 1936 Olympics is a stain on the reputation of the Olympic Movement, as the country would go on to commit genocide against Jewish people and other groups just a few years later. The 2008 Beijing Olympics resulted in a horrific repression and widespread human rights violations by the Chinese government, especially against the Tibetan people, but the IOC took no meaningful action. The decision to allow China to host the 2022 would be even worse. China is committing genocide and other atrocities now, there is no room for ambiguity. The IOC must learn from its mistakes of the past and not continue its behaviour of silence and indifference in the face of atrocities.

“If the International Olympic Committee allows the Chinese government to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, it will go down as an historically shameful decision,” said WUC President Dolkun Isa. “The IOC cannot claim ignorance of China’s genocide against the Uyghur people. If the IOC allows China to host the 2022 Winter Games, it is willfully and intentionally abandoning the values and principles that underpin the Olympic Movement.”

The WUC has routinely and publicly called on the IOC to not allow China to host the Olympic Games while committing genocide and other atrocities, as well as participating in the #NoRightsNoGames online campaign. WUC representatives have tried to meet with the IOC, but were not granted an audience. On Monday, 27 July 2020, the WUC followed up by sending an official letter to the President of the IOC, Mr. Thomas Bach, urging him to reconsider China as a host. We are eagerly awaiting his reply. 

The WUC and Lawyers for Uyghur Rights is making a submission to the Ethics Commission of the IOC to again challenge the decision to allow China to host the 2022 Olympics.

The WUC also demands that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) respond to the legal action taken by WUC and its partners from February 2020 on this issue. Despite paying the required fee and making numerous attempts to contact the CAS, the WUC has still received no official reply or information from the CAS on this case. We furthermore call on the IOC to accept arbitration on this issue.

We cannot allow the good name of the Olympic Movement and what it represents to be tainted by allowing China to host the 2022 Olympic Games. States committing genocide should be held responsible for their actions and forced to stop its atrocities by the international community, not be awarded the hosting rights to the world’s most prestigious sporting event. If we truly believe in the Olympic movement and our common humanity, we have to do better.