Coalitions of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kongers call for boycott of Beijing Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO – OCTOBER 14, 2015: Olympic rings stand under bright blue sky.

A group of coalitions representing Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hongkongers issued a statement Monday, demanding that National Olympic Committees, Olympic athletes and sponsors boycott the upcoming Beijing Olympics. They’re calling for the boycott because “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.”

Among the sponsors of the statement are World Uyghur Congress, Campaign for Uyghurs, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Action Institute, We The Hongkongers, Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, China Against the Death Penalty, and Keep Taiwan Free.

In the statement, the coalitions pointed out that the U.S. State Department has already recognized the situation with Uyghurs in China as a genocide. Secretary Pompeo made the announcement in January.

Besides genocide, the statement also claimed the People’s Republic of China has “illegally occupied Tibet,” “implemented a draconian National Security Bill that effectively criminalizes protest” in Hong Kong, “put down with force” protests by Southern Mongolians and engaged in “geopolitical bullying of Taiwan.”

Previously, the International Olympic Committee claimed that by hosting the Olympics in 2008, the situation in China would get better. Senior IOC member Richard Pound claimed in 2004 the decision “was made in the hope of improvement in human rights and, indeed, the Chinese themselves said that having the games would accelerate progress in such matters.” But, over 15 years later, the U.S. still determined genocides were happening there.

AP News interviewed Tibetan Action Institute’s Lhadon Tethong, who was deported from China in 2007 for her activism. “The situation where we are now is demonstrably worse that it was then,” Tethong said in the interview. “If the games go ahead, then Beijing gets the international seal of approval for what they are doing.”

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