Olympic Winter Games in China

Allegations against IOC President Bach (Press Release)

With an eye toward the Olympic Winter Games in China, which will take place in half a year, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demanded IOC President Thomas Bach to give up his strategy of trying to hush up the situation of the Uyghurs and other Muslim nationalities in the country. "By not commenting on the genocide crimes of the Chinese government against the Uyghur people, Thomas Bach is not only trampling the values of the Olympic Charter underfoot – he is also ignoring statements by several UN-experts," criticized Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect in Göttingen. "The IOC, which enjoys observer status at the UN, was repeatedly informed about the situation of the persecuted groups in China. Now, Bach has six month left to publicly address the crimes of the Chinese government."  

On Friday, Bach was last asked about the incarceration of members of the Uyghur people in the course of a press conference for the Olympic Summer Games, by a journalist of Associated Press. IOC spokesman Mark Adams intervened, stating that Bach would only answer questions concerning the Summer Games in Tokyo. Shortly before the end of the competitions, Bach had described the Games as a "symbol of world hope and solidarity." 

"If he doesn't want to make a fool of himself, Bach should take a stand and condemn the genocide crimes against the Uyghurs," Schedler said. "Currently, however, there are no signs that he might do this. Eight years ago, Bach awarded Xi Jinping the Olympic Medal, praising the preparations for the Winter Games in China. The sponsors of the event – the Allianz group in Munich, Coca-Cola, Visa, and Airbnb, among others – don't seem to want to comment on the crimes in China either, hoping that there will not be too much public criticism. Nonetheless, they should finally agree to meet with family members of people who are currently kept detained in Xinjiang," the human rights advocate demanded.

Only one of the sponsors of the Olympic Games, the US company Intel, has so far declared that it agrees to the statement of the US Foreign Office that the crimes committed in Xinjiang / East Turkestan are to be seen as crimes of genocide. The Chinese Government is trying to rid the region of the Uyghur population – by means of family separation, forced sterilization, torture, arbitrary arrests and long prison sentences, by destroying mosques and cemeteries, and by means of forced labor and reeducation camps.  

"The Chinese Government will not allow free reporting from the Olympic Games in Beijing and the surrounding region. Foreign journalists will be harassed and intimidated," Schedler warned, emphasizing that this had already been the case during the Summer Games in 2008, without criticism on the part of the IOC. "The Olympic Winter Games will set new standards regarding the non-existent freedom of the press and nationalism in the country. The way the Chinese state media cheered two Chinese gold medal winners – who wore badges of the mass murderer Mao Zedong during the ceremony on August 3 – shows that the government only takes the separation of sports and politics seriously if its own crimes are in the focus, such as the genocide crimes against the Uyghurs."