Prominent Chinese Urge International Olympic Committee to Reject
Beijing's Bid to Host the 2022 Winter Olympics
July 26, 2015
A group of prominent Chinese lawyers, journalists, scholars, activists, and former Tiananmen student leaders inside and outside China have issued an open letter urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to veto Beijing’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics because of serious human rights violations.
|By Remon Wang (Rebel Pepper)|
The IOC members are due to vote on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur to choose either Beijing or Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The letter accuses the Chinese government of carrying out an unprecedented attack on civil society. “More than 250 Chinese human-rights lawyers, legal assistants, activists and their family members have been arrested, interrogated, put under house arrest or made to disappear since July 9,” the letter says.
The letter adds that awarding Beijing the Olympics would contradict the Olympic goal of “promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
It describes how China violated the spirit of the 2008 Olympics, pointing out that the Chinese government relocated 1.5 million residents to make way for sports venues and detained hundred of petitioners and disabled people to “clean up” the capital for Olympics. The government also covered up a tainted milk powder scandal that damaged the health of over 360,000 babies in the run-up to the Olympics that year. China also intensified its censorship of the media and rejected work visas for foreign journalists who cover “sensitive topics”.
“We feel utterly ashamed of such a notorious human rights record, which not only contradicts Beijing’s own promises, but also severely tarnishes the reputation and spirit of the Olympic Games,” the letter adds.
The letter warns the IOC that by choosing Beijing it would make the organization “an accomplice in the abuse of human rights in the name of the Olympics,” thereby making the 2022 Winter Olympics the “Shame Games”, and reminiscent of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The letter is part of a global petition to gain signatures to boycott Beijing’s Winter Olympic bid.
The first signers of the letter include Chinese students in the U.S. and Australia, dissidents inside China, such as Hu Jia and Du Yanlin, who was summoned by Beijing Domestic Security officers on July 25 for signing the letter. Other signers include prominent human rights lawyers Chen Guangcheng and Teng Biao, renowned economists He Qinglian and Xia Yeliang, political scientists Wu Qiang of Tsinghua University and Xia Ming of the City University of New York.
In addition, signers also include Tiananmen student leaders Wu’er Kaixi, Zhou Fengsuo and former athlete Fang Zheng, whose legs were crushed by a tank during the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. Fang, a twice national champion, who now lives in San Francisco, has been banned from participating in sporting events in China since 1994, including the 2008 Paralympics. He says: "So my experience is a typical product when politics is in involved in sports, an example of political persecution in ports events.”
See pasted below the open letter to the IOC.
Yi Gu (古懿), email@example.com Twitter: @musa8964
Rose Tang (唐路), firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @rosetangy
International Olympic Committee
Route de Vidy 9, 1007 Lausanne
Date: July 24, 2015
Re: Reject Beijing’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics
Dear Mr. Bach:
The undersigned Chinese nationals and former citizens urge you to reject Beijing’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics as China is now facing a human rights crisis with a scale of violations that is unprecedented since 2008.
As we write this letter, the Chinese government is carrying out an unparalleled attack on civil society. More than 250 Chinese human-rights lawyers, legal assistants, activists and their family members have been arrested, interrogated, put under house arrest and made to disappear since July 9. The youngest is 16 and the oldest 81.
Beijing has been using the Olympic Games to promote the Chinese Communist Party. If the International Olympic Committee awards Beijing the 2022 Winter Olympics, a great event intended to promote solidarity, brotherhood and human development will once again serve a corrupt dictatorship. It will endorse a government that blatantly violates human rights. Awarding Beijing the Olympics is a contradiction of the Olympics’ goal of “promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
The 2008 Summer Olympics made a mockery of the fine principles that the Olympics stands for, and brought more humiliation than dignity and more sadness than joy to the people in China.
In the name of the Olympics, Beijing forcibly relocated 1.5 million residents and evicted thousands of households. Hundreds of petitioners—as well as handicapped people—were detained in secret detention centers as part of the government’s effort to “clean up” the capital for the games. To put forth a good face for the Olympics, Beijing covered up a nationwide powdered milk scandal, which seriously affected the health of some 360,000 babies in China by 2008. The government also banned record-holding athlete Fang Zheng from the Paralympics because his legs were crushed by a tank in the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.
To win the 2008 Olympics, China promised to allow space for Chinese citizens to protest during the games. Spaces were allocated, but those that applied for permission to hold protests were actually arrested, making a mockery of China’s promises to the IOC. We expect similar abuses to take place should you award Beijing the 2022 Winter Olympics.
We feel utterly ashamed of such a notorious human rights record, which not only contradicts Beijing’s own promises, but also severely tarnishes the reputation and spirit of the Olympic Games.
Beijing promised to improve press freedom in order to win the 2008 Olympics. Instead, the Chinese media have experienced even more censorship and crackdowns. China has been denying work visas to a number of foreign journalists who cover “sensitive” issues. The country is the world’s largest jailer of journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Allowing Beijing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics would send the world a message that China’s human rights abuses are being endorsed by the IOC, making the 2022 Games look strikingly similar to the 1936 Berlin Olympics and the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
We believe that the pure Olympic dream should never serve political oppression by a host government. We dream that one day the sacred Olympic flame will cast a light on a free China. For now, under this government, any more Olympic games would go down in history as the Shame Games, and make the IOC an accomplice in the abuse of human rights in the name of the Olympics.
[China (中国)] DU Yanlin (杜延林); HU Jia (胡佳)； HU Junxiong (胡俊雄); HUO Xiaoxi (霍晓曦） JIANG Qiushi (蒋秋实); SHEN Liangqing (沈良庆); SHEN Xiaofu (沈小甫); TANG Liang (唐亮); WANG Lihong (王荔蕻); WU Qiang (吴强,); YE Du (野渡); Zhang Jing (张京); Zhang Youwei (张有为）
[Taiwan (台湾)] Wu’erkaixi (吾尔开希); YAN Kefu (颜柯夫);
[USA（美国）] CHEN Chuangchuang (陈闯创); CHEN Guangcheng (陈光诚); CHEN Kuide (陈奎德); CHEN Liqun (陈立群),; CHENG Qiubo (成秋波); FANG Yong (方勇); FANG Zheng (方政); George GE (葛洵); Yi GU (古懿); HE Qinglian (何清涟); HU Yunfei (胡云飞); LEONG, Fred F. (梁联发); LEONG, Ann H. (熊若磐); SHI Yi (施毅); Rose TANG (唐路); TENG Biao (腾彪); WEN Yunchao (温云超); WU Renhua (吴仁华); XIA Ming (夏明); XIA Yeliang (夏业良); YANG Jianli (杨建利); ZHOU Fengsuo (周锋锁);
[Germany (德国)] GAO Zheng 高铮 LIAO Yiwu (廖亦武); SU Yutong (苏雨桐);
[UK (英国)] FENG Yun (封云);
[Canada (加拿大)] HOU Wenzhuo (侯文卓); LIU Shasha (刘沙沙); YANG Kuang (杨匡); ZHAI Bugang (翟步刚);
[Australia (澳大利亚)] CHEN Qiangbao (陈强保); LI Juan (李隽); LI Jun (李俊); LV Yin (吕毅)；QIN Jin(秦晋)； SHEN Wenshi (盛闻世); SU Zhi (苏智); SUN Hao (孙浩); TAN Yan (谭彦); WU Lebao (吴乐宝); XIA Jiecheng (夏杰成); XIE Yi (谢怡); YANG Jia (杨伽); YU Yang (余阳); YUAN Tieliang (元铁梁)； ZHANG Ming (张明)； ZHANG Shang (张上); ZHONG Jinjiang (钟锦江); ZHONG Wei (钟韦);
Yi Gu (古懿), email@example.com
Rose Tang (唐路), firstname.lastname@example.org