Olympic Committee Slaps New Human Rights Rules on Paris, L.A. That Won't Apply to Beijing

Calls for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic have continued mounting because of alleged human rights issues against minorities in western China. Beijing doesn't have human rights requirements like future Olympic host cities Paris and Los Angeles, which are scheduled to host the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics, respectively.

A coalition of groups that represent Hong Kong residents, Tibetans, Uyghurs and others, issued a statement Monday to call upon "all governments and people, including all National Olympic Committees and Olympic athletes" to boycott the 2022 Winter Games.

"The Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uyghur people and waging an unprecedented campaign of repression in East Turkistan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia, as well as an all-out assault on democracy in Hong Kong," the group called Boycott Beijing 2022 wrote.

"Participating in the Beijing Olympic Games at this time would be tantamount to endorsing China's genocide against the Uyghur people, and legitimizing the increasingly repressive policies of the totalitarian Chinese regime," the group continued.

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Supporters of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement rally in front of the British Embassy ahead of an April 22 vote in the British House of Commons on whether or not to declare that a genocide is underway in Xinjiang province and Chinas treatment of the Uyghur Muslims on April 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. The group is calling for Uyghurs and other Turkic people fleeing Xinjiang to be granted refugee status and calling for an international boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

China wasn't subject to the same human rights requirements to host an Olympic Games that future sites have to follow. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the "Olympic Agenda 2020" in December 2014, which emphasizes safeguarding Olympic values and strengthening the role of sport in society.

The IOC and the Olympic Movement adopted this new agenda seven and a half months before awarding the 2022 Winter Games to Beijing during the IOC's session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 31, 2015. However, the "Olympic Agenda 2020" wasn't fully adopted with closing remarks until January 27, 2021—long after Paris and Los Angeles had already been awarded their Olympics.

Now, a groundswell of those advocating a boycott has reached a crescendo just under nine months from the Opening Ceremony in Beijing. The Boycott Beijing 2022 group has urged the IOC to cancel or move the upcoming Winter Olympics from China, claiming the country never made full on promises to curb allegations of such human rights violations prior to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

"In spite of Beijing's failure to keep human rights promises made before the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, and despite repeated requests by affected peoples and human rights groups to move or delay the 2022 Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to put profit before human lives and turn a blind eye to genocide," the group stated. "It is now up to the international community to take action."

The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, which was postponed until the summer of 2021 because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, will likely become a vocal showcase for boycotting the Beijing Winter Games.

One outspoken organizer of Beijing is Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute, who was detained and eventually deported by the Chinese government in 2007 for leading a Tibetan campaign, just ahead of the famed 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

"The time for talking with the IOC is over," Tethong told The Associated Press. "This cannot be games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community."

Tethong said the IOC promised that the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics would improve human rights conditions in China, but that they've only worsened.

"The situation where we are now is demonstrably worse that it was then," Tethong said. "If the games go ahead, then Beijing gets the international seal of approval for what they are doing."

The IOC has previously stated it has nothing to do with world politics, wishing to remain "neutral" in the matter.

"We are not a super-world government," IOC President Thomas Bach has said.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Chinese government have said any boycott of their Games is "doomed to failure."

Neither Beijing nor China are obligated to address any human rights issues going on there, but Paris and Los Angeles have already signed contracts to confront any problems surfacing in their countries.

It might be too late after the Beijing Winter Games have begun and ended next year, but maybe the IOC has finally found a starting point to address such global atrocities.