Boycott the Winter Olympics in China: opinion

As the 2022 Winter Olympics in China rapidly approach, so are calls to boycott the games for their egregious human rights violations against Uighur Muslims and their increasingly authoritarian actions against Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Tibet and political dissidents.

While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and major corporations have done nothing even as China commits genocide, other activists and the US government are losing patience with the oppressive regime.

Last week, the US Congress proposed a two-party-backed amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would impose a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in China, “prohibiting the secretary of state from spending federal money to ‘support or facilitate’ US government employees games ”, but still allow the participation of American athletes.

This proposal follows similar legislation passed in June that condemned egregious human rights violations in China, as well as calls by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to boycott the Games in May. topics. Pelosi also drew attention to the fact that many corporations continue to cooperate with China, including in connection with the Olympics, and called for an end to such activities.

Members of the United States Congress, however, are not the only concerned voices. In recent weeks, Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter of the National Basketball Association has become extremely vocal against China. This followed the Asian country literally banning the broadcast of Boston Celtics games in response to Kanter criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping and calling for China to liberate Tibet.

Alexei Bychenko of Israel competes in the final of the men’s individual free skating competition at the Winter Olympics, February 17, 2018 (credit: REUTERS)

Kanter, who is originally from Turkey, is already well known for his courage in speaking out against other dictators, such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an incident that resulted in Turkey aggressively pursuing the sports star and even canceling his passport. while I was abroad. Now, he is using his position as a professional athlete to condemn major sports companies, such as Nike, that continue to work with China and profit from what he described as “slave labor.”

Kanter has focused on drawing attention to and supporting Taiwan, Tibet, and Uighur Muslims. He has also explicitly called for an Olympic boycott. In last week’s NBA showdown with the Washington Wizards, he debuted new shoes with the messages “No Beijing 2022,” “Move the Games” and “No Rights, No Games.”

At a time when the world appears to be largely silent and unwilling to hold China accountable, it is inspiring to see a professional athlete use his platform to draw attention to the horrendous embarrassment the IOC is bringing to the Olympics. by allowing China to host February. Olympic Games.

Unfortunately, while these measures are a major effort to draw attention to China’s crimes, they are largely symbolic at this point as well. The IOC and the international community must come together for China to truly feel the heat of such a boycott, and with less than 100 days to go before the games, it seems highly unlikely that such measures will be taken. But that doesn’t mean we should stop asking for it.

It is indisputably wrong that China is holding the Olympics, especially when it has demonstrated some of the worst human rights abuses in the world, consistently, without regard for international law and without any remorse.

The Olympic Games in China should be boycotted, and even if they are not, we must continue to hold China to account to work to end its callous disregard for human rights.

The writer is the CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC.

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