NON DATE (NEXSTAR) – Human rights activists call on athletes to boycott the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, claiming China is guilty of genocide.
“We expect the G-7 governments to boycott the Winter Olympics,” said Zumretay Arkin of the Uyghur World Congress.
Activists disrupted the flame-lighting ceremony in Greece and accused the International Olympic Committee of granting “legitimacy to China’s human rights violations:” by allowing the games to continue.
“This behavior is not only scandalous, it is immoral and criminal. It is essentially a question of helping, aiding and encouraging the Beijing regime to carry out its propaganda and to cover up a sporting washout of its genocide, ”said Pema Doma, director of the Campaigns of Students for a Free Tibet. .
China has been internationally criticized for its treatment of Uyghurs, an ethnic minority in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, most of whom are Muslims. Uyghur women have been sterilized and around 1 million Uyghurs have been sent to “re-education” camps or sent from their homes and families in Xinjiang to work in labor camps.
“The human rights violations are appalling and we all think it really tears the fabric of humanity apart,” said ice dancer Evan Bates.
But while supporting the protesters’ cause, Bates said a boycott was not the answer.
“To boycott the Games would be to miss the opportunity to shed some light on this subject,” Bates said. “And we’ll answer the question and talk about the importance of coming together and representing the Olympic movement, which is all about togetherness and humanity and representing the best that sport has to offer.”
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, continues to stress that the games must be “respected as a politically neutral ground”.