Winter Olympics: IOC says human rights in China are beyond its purview | Winter Olympics News

The IOC rejects calls to challenge China over its treatment of the Uyghur minority ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year.

A senior International Olympic Committee official has dismissed suggestions that China should be challenged over its human rights record ahead of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

IOC Vice President John Coates on Wednesday rejected calls from rights groups and U.S. lawmakers for the IOC to postpone next year’s games and move the event unless China puts a stop to it. end what the United States has seen as a continuing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups.

Asked about the treatment of the Uighur minority in China, he said the body had no mandate to act.

“We are not a world government. We must respect the sovereignty of the countries hosting the games,” Coates said at an event in his native Australia.

Rights groups estimate that at least a million Uyghurs and members of other predominantly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in the northwest region of Xinjiang. China has denied any wrongdoing, saying it has set up vocational training centers to fight “extremism”.

Beijing has also been accused of violating human rights in Hong Kong.

The IOC and its members choose who hosts the Games and help organize the event, and the body promotes itself as the “guardian” of the Olympics and aims to “build a better world through sport”.

“The IOC takes human rights very seriously,” Coates told reporters at a press conference.

“I know this is a very important part of the fundamental principles of Olympism, fundamental principles set out in the Olympic charter.

“The mission of the IOC is to ensure that there is no violation of human rights in the conduct of the Games within the National Olympic Committees or within the Olympic movement.

“We don’t have the ability to go to a country and tell them what to do. All we can do is award the Olympics to a country, under conditions defined in a hosting contract… and then make sure that they are respected.

Trade accusations between the United States and China

The Beijing Winter Olympics will take place next February, but sponsors and others have called for them to be boycotted or find a way to protest the state of human rights in China.

The United States 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 sports” and slandering China.

Jules Boykoff, a former Olympic-level athlete, author and professor of political science at the University of the Pacific in the United States, told Al Jazeera that Coates’ remarks on Wednesday reveal the IOC’s selective ethos.

“On the one hand, it is the all-powerful entity that can choose where to place the games. On the other hand, he acts like he can’t do anything,” Boykoff said.

“The reason [for this] is money. They have to keep that money flowing into the Olympic coffers.

Comments are closed.