Mass arrests, torture, attacks on Tibet’s culture, language and religion. The genocide of the Uyghur people and the shredding of civil liberties in Hong Kong.
How do these atrocities meet the Olympic values and principles of respect, friendship, diversity, and autonomy?
In 2014, a letter to prospective bidders for the 2022 Winter Olympics informed them of changes to the contract, which acts as a binding agreement between the International Olympic Committee and the winner.
The new clause read: “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic movement.”
And then China was announced as the hosts of the Winter Olympics 2022.
We are calling on the British Olympic Association to take a stand for human rights and for the true spirit of the Olympics. Boycott Beijing 2022!
Text of the petition:
We the undersigned are gravely concerned about Great Britain's participation in the Beijing 2022 Winter Games. Given the numerous and severe human rights concerns being carried out by the Chinese government, we urge the British Olympic Association (BOA) to re-evaluate its participation in the Games.
The 2022 Winter Games will take place against a backdrop of serious and escalating human rights abuses in Tibet. In January 2021, Tibet was listed as the worst place in the world for civil and political rights, with Tibetans under constant surveillance and living in fear of arrest and torture if they criticise the Chinese government. Meanwhile, their language, religion and environment are being systematically attacked.
The Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghur people is increasingly being recognised by governments, and the UK parliament, as genocide. At least two million Uyghur Muslims are currently incarcerated in “re-education camps”, Uyghur women have come forward with testimonies that they were forcibly sterilised and there is growing evidence of forced labour. Citizens in Hong Kong are being subjected to a harsh crackdown on their civil liberties while China continues to jail more journalists than any other country in the world.
With the International Olympic Committee remaining silent, it falls to the BOA to take a firm stance. The most impactful and bravest course of action would be a boycott of the 2022 Winter Games, accompanied by a public statement that the BOA is boycotting because of the host’s extensive human rights abuses, including genocide. This would make a real difference to millions of lives and would be looked back on as a courageous, historic act by future generations.