2021-10-13 18:59:04 Winter Olympics: IOC says China human rights ‘not within’ remit | Winter Olympics News
Winter Olympics: IOC says China human rights ‘not within’ remit | Winter Olympics News
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected calls to challenge China over its treatment of the Uighur minority ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.
A senior member of the International Olympic Committee has dismissed suggestions that China be questioned about its human rights record ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
IOC Vice President John Coates on Wednesday rejected calls from rights groups and US lawmakers for the IOC to postpone and relocate next year’s games unless China stops what the US considers ongoing genocide against Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups.
When asked about the treatment of China’s Uighur minority, he stated that the body lacks the authority to act.
“We aren’t a global government.” “We must respect the sovereignty of the countries hosting the games,” Coates said at an event in his home country of Australia.
According to rights groups, at least one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been imprisoned in the northwestern Xinjiang region. China has denied wrongdoing, claiming that it has established vocational training centers to combat “extremism.”
Beijing has also been accused of violating Hong Kong’s human rights.
The IOC and its members decide who hosts the Games and help run the event, and the organization bills itself as the “guardian” of the Olympics, aiming to “build a better world through sport.”
“The IOC places a very high emphasis on human rights,” Coates said at a press conference.
“I know it’s a crucial part of the fundamental principles of Olympism, the fundamental principles outlined in the Olympic Charter.”
“The International Olympic Committee’s mandate is to ensure that there are no human rights violations in the conduct of the Games within the National Olympic Committees or within the Olympic movement.”
“We don’t have the capability of going into a country and telling them what to do.” All we can do is award the Olympics to a country under the terms of a host contract… and then make certain that they are followed.”
Trade squabbles between the United States and China
The Beijing Winter Olympics are set to take place in February, but there have been calls for sponsors and others to boycott them or find another way to protest China’s human rights record.
The US Congress has grilled five major sponsors, including Visa and Airbnb, for allegedly supporting the genocide of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
Beijing has responded by accusing US politicians of “politicizing sports” and slandering China.
Jules Boykoff, a former Olympic athlete, author, and political science professor at Pacific University in the United States, told Al Jazeera that Coates’ remarks on Wednesday revealed the IOC’s selective ethics.
“On the one hand, it is the all-powerful entity that can decide where the games will be played. On the other hand, it acts as if it is powerless,” Boykoff explained.
“The reason [for this] is financial.” They must keep the money flowing into the Olympic coffers.”