Beijing 2022: 180 human rights groups call for Winter Olympics boycott

Over 180 human rights organizations have called on countries to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympic Games scheduled to be held in Beijing in protest against China's record of human rights abuses. 

Crackdown on Basic Freedom And Human Rights

The groups which consisted of regional associations in support of Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Uighur community opined that hopes that the 2015 Beijing games would spark progress have been extinguished long ago.

The group stated that: "Since then … President Xi Jinping has unleashed an unrelenting crackdown on basic freedom and human rights". They called on governments to ensure that the games are not used to "embolden" the Chinese government as the 2008 Summer Olympics had done, by boycotting it. 

In an open letter, they said: "The IOC [International Olympic Committee] refused to listen in 2008, defending its decision with claims that they would prove to be a catalyst for improved human rights. As human rights experts predicted, this decision proved to be hugely misplaced; not only did China’s human rights record not improve, but violations increased substantially without rebuke”.

"Now, in 2021, we find ourselves back in the same position with the IOC who are refusing to act despite the clear evidence of genocide and widespread and worsening human rights failures.”

Not Likely To Be Effective

Their appeals are unlikely to be effective, however, as countries, including the USA, are not demonstrating any real eagerness to boycott the event. The USA had previously compared China's abuses in Xinjiang to genocide. 

On their part, China, through their foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, has claimed that "all Winter Games lovers are looking forward to taking part in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics".

"We are fully confident the Beijing Winter Olympics will be a splendid event. In the meantime I must point out that it is highly irresponsible for some parties to try and disrupt, intervene, and sabotage the preparation and holding of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games to serve their political interests,” Wang added.