Olympic Committee won’t confront China over human rights despite calls to boycott Beijing 2022


Top line

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not pressure China over its human rights record ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, a senior official said on Wednesday even as several human rights groups. human rights and some US lawmakers have called for a boycott of the games during the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs and its crackdown in Hong Kong.


Speaking to the press in Australia, IOC Vice President John Coates said confronting a sovereign nation on human rights issues was outside the committee’s remit.

Coates said the IOC’s mandate is limited to ensuring that no human rights violations take place in the conduct of the Games within National Olympic Committees or “within the Olympic movement”.

He further added that the IOC does not have the capacity to go to any country and tell them what to do and all it can do is ensure that the conditions set out in a contract d welcome are respected.

Asked about the IOC’s decision to intervene in Afghanistan – where the body said it had helped around 100 members of the “Olympic community” to leave the country on humanitarian visas – Coates insisted it was the responsibility of competence of the committee.

Coates also said he saw no point in a country boycotting the games, as such measures in the past had failed.

Key context

In May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Called for a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Games, meaning no official delegations will be sent to Beijing as long as athletes are still allowed to to compete. Dominic Raab, the British Deputy Prime Minister, also indicated that he would not attend the games even though his instinct is to “separate sport from diplomacy and politics”. Earlier this year, several Western countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union, imposed sanctions on Beijing for alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang. China has been accused of detaining the region’s predominantly Muslim Uyghur residents in camps where they are said to be subjected to torture, forced labor and sexual abuse, according to leaked documents and satellite images. Beijing has also been criticized for its ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Further reading

Olympic officials won’t push China on human rights ahead of Beijing Games, as boycott calls mount (Washington Post)

John Coates rules out IOC pressuring China over human rights ahead of Beijing Winter Olympics (ABC News)


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