Don't let China host the 2022 Olympics without honoring human rights norms, say USCIRF members

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 06 May 2020

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

Washington: Top US officials have argued that human rights activists and members of the Congress have already called on the International Olympic Committee to either demand China to respect human rights as a condition of hosting the Games or to move the 2022 Winter Olympics to another location.

The comment was made at a time when reports of Chinese mistreatment towards Uighur and other Muslims have emerged continuously.

"Individuals have been sent to the camps for wearing long beards, refusing alcohol, or other behaviors that Chinese authorities decide constitute 'religious extremism'," Gary Bauer and Tenzin Dorjee, who are commissioners on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, wrote in their opinion piece published in Washington Examiner.

"According to a recent report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Chinese companies have used Uighur detainees as forced labor in factories — including some in the supply chains of major American brands such as Apple, Nike, and Amazon," read the opinion piece.

"In addition, Chinese authorities have raided or closed hundreds of house churches, mosques, and temples across the country. In February, the government enacted a new regulation requiring religious groups to accept and teach the principles of the Communist Party," it said.

"Meanwhile, the Chinese government has created a sweeping surveillance state, with cameras and facial recognition systems, to track Uighurs and Tibetan Buddhists. According to experts, this is the first known example of a government intentionally using artificial intelligence for racial profiling," it said.

Responding to the calls by human rights activists, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom commissioners, said: "As members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, we join these calls. Proceeding with the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing would send the wrong signal and legitimize the Chinese government’s unconscionable religious freedom violations."

"We hope the IOC can find a creative solution to the 2022 Games, such as allowing Japan to host both the 2021 and 2022 Olympic Games. If it does not, and if the Chinese government’s persecution of religious minorities continues, we call upon the U.S. government to announce that it will not send any officials to attend the games in Beijing," read the opinion.

Given the COVID-19 outbreak in the world, Japan has already postponed the 2020 Summer Olympics until July 2021.

This is the first time the game has been postponed in the 124-year history of the modern Olympic movement.

The COVID-19 virus is itself believed to have emerged from China.

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