An international trade union body has joined a long list of human-rights advocates challenging the appropriateness of Beijing hosting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which start in less than 100 days.
“The sports of the Olympics have rules, but the Chinese Communist Party has shown that it has little or no respect for international laws and standards,” said the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in a Nov.9 report, “China: A gold medal for repression.”
The Beijing 2022 has been deemed controversial due to the ruling Party’s human rights record.
The report, which came just under three months before the Games open on Feb. 4, listed five repressive policies of the Chinese regime that suffocate freedom and rights for millions, both nationwide and worldwide, calling them the “five rings of repression.”
The alleged abuses, according to the report, include forced labor, the jailing of trade unionists and democracy activists in Hong Kong, repression of ethnic and religious minorities under the pretext of “anti-separatism, anti-extremism, and counterterrorism,” and spreading misleading information over the global pandemic.
“Tactics used in Tibet have been exported to Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia to attack local communities, including heavy securitization, surveillance and ‘political education,’” the findings show. Meanwhile, the largest pro-democracy trade union in Hong Kong broke up a month ago after members received safety threats if the group wasn’t disbanded. At least 29 trade unions have dissolved since the start of 2021.
The Brussels-based ITUC demanded Beijing end its policies of repression and allow fundamental rights and freedoms under international rules.
It also singled out the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for acquiescing in the face of alleged genocide and crimes against humanity reportedly taking place in the host country. It said a copy of the report has been sent to IOC President Thomas Bach.
There have been repeated calls for boycotts and demands for the IOC to move the Games out of China. Two U.S. citizens were detained in Athens before a torch lighting ceremony last month. Sponsors and broadcasters were also targeted, including household names such as Coca-Cola, Airbnb, Visa, Toyota, Alibaba, and Proctor & Gamble.
“We want sponsors to actually review their association with the Beijing Winter Olympics,” Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the ITUC, told the Associated Press.
“You’ve got major companies who are supporting these Olympics who really ought to live up to values that they say they respect.”
This year, with COVID-19 countermeasures being a possible rationale, journalists covering the sports event will be in a “closed-loop” that undermines free movement.
Last week, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China in Beijing published a 31-point list of concerns about media access for the Games.
“Over the last year, the foreign press corps has been continuously stymied in its coverage of Winter Olympic Games preparations, denied attendance at routine events, and prevented from visiting sports venues in China. … Such behavior fails to uphold the IOC’s own Olympic Charter,” it said.
In response, the U.S. State Department urged Beijing to grant “freedom of movement and access” for foreign journalists, spokesperson Ned Price said in a briefing.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators led by Republican Senator Mitt Romney has proposed a diplomatic boycott by the United States that would allow U.S. athletes to attend but not U.S. government employees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.