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Human rights coalition calls on IOC to 'reverse its mistake' in awarding Winter Games to China

Human rights coalition calls on IOC to 'reverse its mistake' in awarding Winter Games to China
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A human rights coalition on Wednesday called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to "reverse its mistake" in allowing Beijing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, citing inhumane treatment.

When Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics, violent protests ensued over China's treatment of ethnic minorities, the country's repression of Tibet and the status of the exiled Dalai Lama, The Associated Press reported.

The coalition of human rights groups delivered demands to boycott the 2022 Olympics in Beijing to IOC President Thomas Bach before an executive board meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday, the AP reported.

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In a letter, the coalition requested that the IOC "reverse its mistake in awarding Beijing the honor of hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2022."

The letter underscored that since the 2008 Olympics, China has failed to improve its human rights record and has further built "an Orwellian surveillance network" along with the incarceration of more than a million Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic group.

Among the complaints about Uighur encampments in the Xinjiang province, the letter listed other alleged abuses surrounding Hong Kong, the Inner Mongolia region and Beijing's Taiwan policy.

The Chinese government has repeatedly denied any allegations of human rights abuses and said Uighur encampments are job training facilities to combat terrorism.

"Through vocational education and training, Xinjiang has taken preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures, effectively contained the once frequent terrorist activities, and protected the right to life, health and development of all ethnic groups," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said last week.

The spokesperson added that there has not been "a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang" in the past four years.

The IOC said that it had received assurances that the Olympic Charter's principles would be respected when Beijing hosts the games in 2022, adding that it aims to be "neutral" on global political issues.

"Awarding the Olympic Games to a national Olympic committee does not mean that the IOC agrees with the political structure, social circumstances, or human rights standards in the country," the IOC told the AP in an email.