Campaigners ask Snickers to cancel Beijing 2022 sponsorship
More than 200 global campaign groups have signed an open letter urging candy bar brand Snickers to “immediately cancel” its sponsorship of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics due to the human rights situation in China.
The letter, titled “Snickers: Drop Beijing 2022,” was addressed to Grant Reid, managing director of Mars Wrigley – the owners of Snickers.
The US global manufacturer has reached an agreement to become the exclusive supplier of chocolates for Beijing 2022 in December 2019 and is one of two non-Chinese sponsors of the Games alongside European brand EF Education First.
‘No Beijing 2022’ campaigners have applauded Snickers ‘public commitment to’ building strong human rights partnerships ‘, but say China is’ not a viable or qualified candidate for such partnership”.
A similar campaign was launched against its partner Airbnb in January.
“The Snickers should not sidestep these values to reap the financial rewards that come with sponsoring a major sporting event set against a backdrop of genocide,” read the letter from the coalition of campaign groups.
China has been widely condemned for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang as well as for its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong and its policies towards Tibet and Taiwan.
A US State Department report released in January accused China of committing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority ethnic groups.
Mandie McKeown, executive director of the International Tibet Network, signed the letter on behalf of the coalition of campaign groups and requested a meeting with representatives of Mars Wrigley.
“We urge you to immediately cancel your sponsorship of the Beijing 2022 Olympics, or you risk being tainted with association,” the letter said.
“By terminating this agreement, Mars Wrigley has the opportunity to send a clear message that he will not tolerate dealing with governments that profit from occupation, genocide and human rights abuses and to make a real difference in the lives of those who live under the tight grip of Beijing.
“We ask for the opportunity to meet with you and other representatives of Mars Wrigley to discuss our grave concerns regarding China’s attempt to use Beijing 2022 to ‘cleanse the sport’ of the situation facing Tibetan, Uyghur, Hong Kong, Southern Mongolian and Chinese freedom activists. ”
According to the open letter, the coalition said Snickers did not respond to a private letter sent more than two months ago.
“Your lack of response only heightens our fears that your company will knowingly compromise its public commitments to human rights in return for access to the Chinese market,” the letter added.
“These concerns are particularly troubling given that Snickers was once the official sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, when China carried out a brutal human rights crackdown before – and during – the games that were broadcast. in full view of the world. “
In a separate statement, McKeown accused Snickers of “taking advantage of a regime which is using the Olympics to bolster its international reputation and whitewash its brutal crackdown.”
“No company should normalize human rights violations of this magnitude and until Mars Wrigley terminates its business relationship with Chinese authorities, its reputation and commitments will be deeply compromised,” McKeown said.
Pema Doma, Students for a Free Tibet, added: “Mars Wrigley now faces a fundamental choice: he can either do the right thing and end his partnership with a government at the head of one. worst human rights repression in history or pursuing a “business as usual” policy that will only make the situation worse. “
The International Olympic Committee has resisted calls to boycott Beijing 2022 after claiming it must stay out of politics.
inside the games contacted Mars Wrigley for comment.