As the deadline to select the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics nears, a group of Chinese, Uyghur, Mongolian and Tibetan activists have penned a letter urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reject Beijing’s bid. The IOC will be selecting between Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, and announce the host city next Friday, July 31, in Kuala Lumpur.
“As Tibetans, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolians and Han Chinese, we join together to urge you, members of the International Olympic Committee, not to award another Olympic Games to China,” the open letter signed by president of the World Uyghur Congress, director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, president of Initiatives for China and a former Tibetan political prisoner and published Thursday, said.”All the people we represent have suffered as a result of the Chinese government’s contempt for human rights.”
— TheTibetNetwork (@TheTibetNetwork) July 20, 2015
Beijing was lauded by many in the international community for its success in running the Olympic Games in 2008, which temporarily overcame hurdles of air pollution and traffic. Though the athletic events went smoothly, human rights advocates say that awarding Beijing with another Olympic Games would implicitly endorse current human rights abuses.
“We hope that you are aware by now that the 2008 Beijing Games did nothing to alleviate human rights abuses in China or enhance freedom. In fact, the situation now in 2015 is far worse than when those Games were awarded in 2001,” the letter said.
The letter highlighted the recent crackdown and detention of over 200 human rights lawyers earlier this month, of which a dozen are still detained or missing as well as the ban on practicing Ramadan in the Uyghur-Muslim dominant far west province of Xinjiang in a list of recent grievances with the Chinese government.
“Our collective message to all International Olympic Committee members is that for hundreds of millions of people inside China’s borders, the Games returning to Beijing will be a green light for the government’s ongoing abuse of their rights and denial of their hopes for freedom,” it read.