Uyghurs call for 2022 Beijing Winter Games to be relocated due to rights abuses - ABC News

Published by ABC.NET.AU

Summary generated on August 15, 2020

    China says its so-called vocational training centres are important for fighting extremism.

    Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, said in a statement that it had submitted a formal complaint to the IOC's ethics commission on Thursday.

    It held that the IOC had "Acted in breach of the Olympic Charter by failing to reconsider holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing following verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity taking place against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims by the People's Republic of China".

    The complaint, submitted by London-based lawyer Michael Polak, included evidence that it said proved that crimes against humanity are taking place such as mass sterilisation, arbitrary detention in internment camps and torture.

    Some commentators have suggested that the United States may boycott Beijing 2022 altogether, amid sharply escalating bilateral tensions worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

    "The Trump administration, with congressional support, should begin working now to build an international coalition that will call on the IOC to move or cancel the Games unless China closes the camps and ends abuses in Xinjiang," wrote Michael Mazza of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative thinktank, late last year.

    US Senator Rick Scott earlier this month wrote to the IOC's President Thomas Bach, calling upon the organisation to "Stand up" to Beijing over the crackdown in Hong Kong and "Genocide against Uyghurs living in Xinjiang", or "Find a new home" for the 2022 Games.

    Politicians from Canada have also called for the event to be moved.

    Australia has been a vocal critic of China's mass detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

    This week, more than 70 interfaith religious leaders from around the world condemned China's treatment of the Uyghurs, which they said constituted "One of the most egregious human tragedies since the Holocaust".

    "After the Holocaust, the world said 'never again.' Today, we repeat those words," said the statement, signed by imams, rabbis and Christian leaders.

    "We stand with the Uyghurs. We also stand with Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and Christians throughout China who face the worst crackdown on freedom of religion or belief since the Cultural Revolution."