The IOC and the genocide in Xinjiang

Olympic values need open words

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has demanded the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to use the IOC's press conference on Wednesday to finally condemn the genocide crimes against the Uyghur population of Xinjiang / East Turkestan. "In his position as head of the IOC, Thomas Bach is an influential man, and his words carry weight. He should us his power to call out the crimes of the Chinese government and to demand the host of the Winter Olympics 2022 to stop the genocide," demanded Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. "If the executives of the IOC continue to remain silent, they are putting the athletes in a very problematic position: They will be taking part in Winter Games in a country where the state commits genocide crimes. At the same time, the organizers – who should ensure that the Olympic values are respected – appear to be more concerned with profitable broadcasting rights." Thus, the athletes feel compelled to remain silent as well. Sponsors such as the Munich-based Allianz Group have not commented on the genocide either.  

During the Summer Games in Tokyo, Bach had refused to make any statement on the situation of the Muslim minority in Xinjiang – and he was not prepared to comment on the freedom of the press either. During the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, media representatives could not report freely, and the situation has become even worse since then. The dictatorial Communist Party is campaigning against critical reports by foreign media, and journalists have to put up with restrictions on their freedom of movement. Several media workers have already been expelled since May 2020. "Thomas Bach has a huge responsibility: He must address the crimes of the Chinese government – which have been proven by statements of UN-experts – and remind Beijing of the promises made in 2015, in connection with the application for the Winter Games, with regard to human rights issues." Currently, Bach conveys the impression that it is more important for the IOC to make billions with broadcasting rights and sponsorship contracts than to take a stand against forced sterilization, family break-ups, the destruction of mosques and cemeteries, and brainwashing in the reeducation camps.

If Chinese President Xi Jinping is not willing to make changes, he should not be allowed to keep the Olympic medal Bach had awarded him shortly after being elected IOC President.