Frédéric J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images
Uyghur rights organizations applaud the US government’s decision not to send diplomatic or official representatives to Beijing for next year’s Winter Olympics.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that the diplomatic boycott was prompted by “the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights violations.” , referring to the region of southwest China with a large population of Uyghurs and other Muslims. minorities, like the Kazakhs.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project, a US organization defending the rights of Uyghurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang, welcomed the US diplomatic boycott.
The organization stressed that all governments should refuse to participate in the “spectacle of the genocide games of the 21st century”.
“The Chinese government is using the 2022 Winter Games as a showcase of its global leadership. A diplomatic boycott sends a strong signal: governments refuse to give the green light to the Uyghur genocide, ”Omer Kanat, executive director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, said in a report. declaration.
Campaign for Uyghurs, an organization defending human rights and freedoms for Uyghurs, said that “the Uyghur genocide has cast a shadow over these games and made their normal course morally untenable.”
“We reject the fact that there can be a symbol of peace when camps and surveillance devices are erected there as monuments of atrocities. We reject the Olympic Games in the midst of genocide,” said the executive director of the Rushan Abbas organization in a statement. declaration.
Abbas said the move sends a strong warning to Chinese officials that the diplomatic boycott shows the United States rejecting the Chinese government’s conduct, and said she hopes other governments will join the boycott as well.
Likewise, the World Uyghur Congress, an international organization which claims the rights of Uyghurs, noted “While we welcome the United States’ announcement as an important first step in ensuring that the international community stops legitimizing the Chinese government’s genocide and crimes against humanity, we continue to urge governments around the world to take further bilateral and multilateral action. “
The White House announcement on Monday comes nearly two months before the games start.
Even though the Biden administration will not send any government officials to the Games, American athletes are still expected to participate.
“The American team athletes have our full support,” Psaki told reporters during Monday press briefing. “We will support them 100% while we encourage them from home. We will not contribute to the Games fanfare.”
Human rights groups have sounded the alarm for years over the Chinese government’s treatment of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, which they say has worsened considerably from 2017. According to them Amnesty International, hundreds of thousands of people there are subjected to imprisonment and mass torture.
“The diplomatic or official representation of the United States would treat these Games as usual,” Psaki said, in the face of “China’s” gross human rights violations and atrocities in Xinjiang. And we simply cannot not do that “.
The Chinese government has criticized the boycott, saying the United States should “refrain from politicizing sport.”