243 non-governmental organizations have called on the governments of the countries participating in the Beijing Winter Olympics (February 4-20) to implement a diplomatic boycott.
At the same time, the groups sharply criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its dealings with the Chinese government, which has been accused of serious human rights violations.
“Olympics cannot have a ‘positive force,’ as the International Olympic Committee claims, when the host country’s government commits serious crimes and violates international law,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.
China’s government has come under criticism, among other things, because it oppresses minorities such as the Uyghurs and Tibetans and severely curtails freedom of expression.
Countries like the USA, Great Britain and Canada have already announced a diplomatic boycott. Germany has not yet officially declared such a thing. However, numerous senior officials have said they will not travel to China.
Serious allegations against IOC boss Thomas Bach
“We call on governments to stand in solidarity with imprisoned human rights defenders who pay a heavy price for advocating for reform, defending the rights of others, or simply discussing how to strengthen civil society in China,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China.
According to the groups, the IOC and President Thomas Bach had “failed to fulfill their responsibilities within the framework of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”.
Despite the human rights violations, there was “no appropriate due diligence”. In addition, Bach took part in a “propaganda campaign” by China “to gloss over the allegations of sexual assault made by three-time Olympian Peng Shuai”.
The IOC claims that “sports and politics are not mixed, but the Chinese government has already used the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games for its political interests,” said Bhuchung K. Tsering, interim president of the International Campaign for Tibet.
Omer Kanat, executive director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, added: “Even spectacular Olympics cannot hide genocide.”