Story at a glance

  • Several human rights groups are calling for a total boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing human rights abuses in China.
  • “The time for talking with the IOC is over,” Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute told The AP.
  • “This cannot be games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community."

Human rights groups and activists are calling for a total boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing human rights abuses in China. 

The groups, which are made up of individuals representing Uyghurs, Tibetans and residents of Hong Kong, issued a joint statement advocating for a boycott instead of negotiating with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), The Associated Press (AP) first reported

“The time for talking with the IOC is over,” Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute told the AP. “This cannot be games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community.”

The 2022 Winter Olympics are slated to open in Beijing six months after the conclusion of the delayed Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

Tethong, who was detained and deported for leading a campaign for Tibet prior to the the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, told the AP the current situation “is demonstrably worse than it was then.” If the winter games proceed as planned, the international community would effectively confirm to China its “approval of what they are doing,” Tethong said. 


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A joint hearing of Congress focused on the Beijing Olympics and China’s alleged human rights abuses is set for Tuesday. The State Department decried these abuses in a recent report, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken adding “the trend lines on human rights continue to move in the wrong direction.” China has denied accusations. 

Tethong told the AP the groups arrived at the decision after making “good faith” efforts to discuss the issues with the IOC, but she said the committee “is completely uninterested in what the real impacts on the ground for the people are.”

“There are obviously a lot of people who are concerned about the athletes and their lifelong work,” Tethong added. “But in the end it’s the IOC that has put them in this position and should be held accountable.”


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Tethong told the outlet she’s hopeful to gain interest from athletes who’ve vocalized support for the Black Lives Matter movement, even if other athletes remain against the boycott. 

The IOC added new human rights requirements for host city contracts for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, but they were not included in the contract for the winter games in Beijing, according to the AP. The IOC recently upheld a rule prohibiting “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda," at venues for the Tokyo Olympics. Violators could be subject to punishment.


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Published on May 18, 2021