We will not pressure China for human rights, says IOC official
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not pressure China, the host country of the 2022 Winter Olympics, for its human rights record, IOC Vice President John Coates said on Wednesday.
The senior IOC member said it was not within the scope of the governing body to dictate to sovereign countries,
He rejected suggestions that China should be challenged over its human rights record ahead of the Beijing Winter Games.
Asked about the treatment of the Uyghur minority in China, Coates said the body had no mandate to act.
“We are not a world government. We have to respect the sovereignty of the countries that host the games, ”Coates said at an event in Australia.
Rights groups believe at least a million Uyghurs and members of other minorities, mostly Muslim, have been incarcerated in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Beijing has also been accused of violating human rights in Hong Kong.
“We don’t have the ability to go to a country and tell them what to do… that’s not our mandate.
The IOC and its members choose who hosts the Games and help organize the event.
The body presents itself as the “guardian” of the Olympic Games and is committed to “building a better world through sport”.
The Beijing Winter Olympics are next February, but there have been calls for sponsors and others to boycott them.
Those calling for a boycott have also demanded that, in the alternative, sponsors and others should find a way to protest the state of human rights in China.
The US Congress has grilled five major sponsors – including Visa and Airbnb – accusing them of supporting the alleged genocide of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
In response, Beijing accused US politicians of “politicizing sport” and slandering China.
China has been ruled by the Communist Party since 1949 and has hosted the Olympics once before, the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.
This event was widely viewed as a showcase of China’s growing wealth and status as a rising power.
This time around, overseas fans will be banned due to coronavirus restrictions.
The Winter Games will take place after several repressive measures, notably in Hong Kong, intended to consolidate the power of President Xi Jinping.