Guess which country is a gold medallist for Olympic boycotts? Surely not the country that claimed recently a diplomatic boycott to be a ‘political manipulation and a grave distortion of the Olympic Charter’…
If you guessed China, you would be correct.
The People’s Republic of China boycotted the Olympics in Melbourne in 1956, Tokyo in 1964, Montreal in 1976, and Moscow in 1980. These were full boycotts, not simply the diplomatic boycotts imposed by the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and Lithuania (to date) on the Beijing Winter games. Others may follow considering last July the European Parliament passed a resolution urging EU leaders to ‘refuse the invitation of government officials and diplomats to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.’
At first, the Chinese Communist Party was dismissive of the action which had already been foreshadowed when some 20 nations declined the sign the traditional Olympic truce. Foreign dignitaries ‘weren’t invited’ went the official line. ‘Whether they come or not, nobody cares,’ said CCP Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin. But when the decisions were announced, the CCP propaganda swung to its usual high dungeon; the West would pay for this snub!
True to form, the International Olympic Committee fell in behind the CCP. The Olympics are about ‘human flourishing’ – according to the IOC. Tell that to the millions of Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers, and others suffering from the CCP’s brutal activities.
The IOC is conflicted, if not compromised, over China. Even the uniforms worn by the IOC members and administrators for both the Tokyo and Beijing Olympics are supplied by the Hengyuanxiang Group, which has a textiles factory in Xinjiang where the use of Uyghur slave labor is common.
Five years ago, the CCP and the IOC were involved in the closure of the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace, giving more power to each. The UN itself is highly conflicted. An employee, Emma Reilly recently accused the Commission for Human Rights of sharing names of dissidents with the Chinese authorities, who then arrest them and place them in detention camps.
‘China wants to make sure that the Uyghur genocide is never discussed anywhere in the UN,’ she said.
The IOC’s reaction to the ‘disappearance’ of the tennis star, Peng Shuai, is telling.
‘Nothing to see here,’ is the message from the Olympics body after a staged video call between IOC president Thomas Bach and Peng. It is most unlikely that Peng organised the call. A Chinese IOC member, Li Lingwei, was also on the call, but all that has emerged is a photo of Peng talking to Bach. There was no transcript. It has also become clear that another call was also held, but again the details are vague.
The attitude of the IOC stands in stark contrast to the Women’s Tennis Association Tour, whose CEO, Steve Simon, led the global concerns about Peng. Despite repeated attempts to contact Peng, the WTA remains unable to connect. Based on a likely choreographed call to the IOC, the world is expected to believe Peng is safe. In contrast to the IOC, the WTA has announced it will suspend tournaments in China.
As these events were occurring, the independent China Tribunal issued a devastating report on the plight of the Uyghurs after a year-long investigation. Chaired by the war crimes prosecutor, Sir Geoffrey Nice, the panel concluded that China has committed genocide against the Uyghurs. The panel was ‘satisfied that President Xi Jinping, Chen Quanguo, and other very senior officials in the PRC and CCP bear primary responsibility for acts in Xinjiang.’
The tribunal accepted evidence of torture, mass internment, forcible transfer of Uyghur children to state-run facilities, and an ethnic birth-prevention strategy. China had undertaken a ‘deliberate, systematic and concerted policy’ to bring about the ‘long-term reduction of Uyghur and other ethnic minority populations.’
While acknowledging that there was ‘no evidence of mass killings’ in Xinjiang – yet – Sir Geoffrey said that the efforts to prevent births amounted to genocidal intent.
Many of the same practices have been deployed in Tibet, where some 800,000 children have been housed in state-run institutions. Chinese language and culture are prioritised over Tibetan in a deliberate policy to wipe out the local culture.
The Tribunal’s recent report followed previous findings of Crimes Against Humanity against the Falan Gong practitioners and Uyghurs had been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The direct reference to the role of Xi Jinping is significant.
Leaked documents reveal that the Chinese President tied economic prosperity, including his Belt and Road Initiative, and national security directly to punishing the Uyghurs. In another of the documents many marked ‘top secret’, the CCP Secretary of Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, commands officials to ‘round up all who should be rounded up’. He stressed that the detention camps would operate for a very long time. Xi ordered changes to family planning policies that the Tribunal found to have involved a genocidal intent.
It is no longer credible for nations – and international organisations such as the IOC – to ignore what is happening in China under the direction of Xi Jinping.
Fortunately, the CCP is being called out for its behaviour despite its laughable claims to being a rules-based democracy. Indeed, the Chinese regime has become increasingly twitchy about President Biden’s democracy summit, not having understood that the propaganda that it can force-feed the people of China is contested – often ridiculed – in the outside world.
Complaints have been filed in Europe against a number of clothing and footwear manufacturers alleging the use of slave labour. Magnitsky-style legislation to sanction human rights abusers has been passed in a number of countries, including Australia recently. The US House of Representatives passed by a vote of 428-1 the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. A similar measure had already been approved by the Senate.
The latest iteration of ‘Xi’s Thought’ on everything is the publication in many Chinese newspapers recently of Selected Statements from Xi Jinping on the Respect and Protection of Human Rights.
Irony has never been the strength of totalitarians, but the anthology could be a useful tool for continuing to document the CCP’s record of doing the opposite to what it proclaims.
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