Beijing Olympic Winter Games protests & politics thread

Sylvia

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ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Human rights activists unfurled a banner reading "No Genocide Games", waved a Tibetan flag and called for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics during the torch-lighting ceremony on Monday.
Two women and a man sneaked past a tight police cordon and entered the archaeological site of the ancient Greek stadium and temple where the Olympic flame is traditionally lit and which had been sealed off for days.
They held up a Tibetan flag seconds after the torch was lit by an actress playing the role of high priestess at the Temple of Hera a few metres away.
The three protesters shouted for a boycott of the Games in Beijing, as invited officials, including Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, looked on.
 

Sylvia

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This happened the day before the torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia:
Two women attempted to hang a banner from the Acropolis in Athens Sunday morning in protest at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, and were detained by Greek police.
The activists, 18-year-old Tibetan student Tsela Zoksang and 22-year-old exiled Hong Kong activist Joey Siu, both American citizens, are members of the “No Beijing 2022” campaign, a statement from the New York-based organization Students for a Free Tibet said.
They, and a third person, entered the archeological site as paying customers and then Zoksang and Siu climbed up some scaffolding, from which they attempted to unfurl the banner.
A security officer rushed to them and took the banner away. The two women remained on the scaffolding and deployed a Tibetan flag and a smaller banner proclaiming, “Free Hong Kong Revolution.” They also chanted slogans including “Free Tibet,” “Boycott Beijing 2022” and “No freedom, no Games.” Police arrived and detained the protesters.
 
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Sylvia

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A couple of quotes from day one of the Beijing 2022 Team USA Media Summit (held virtually) on Monday, Oct. 18:
Two-time US ice dance champion Evan Bates speaks out on China human rights abuses ahead of 2022 Beijing Games: “Speaking on behalf of all the athletes, I can say human rights violations are abysmal. … What’s happening in China regarding the Muslims, it’s terrible, it’s awful.”
And Nathan Chen, Olympic gold-medal favorite in men’s figure skating: “I agree with what Evan was saying. For greater change to occur, there must be power that is beyond the Olympics, there has to be change at a remarkable scale. …” cont.
Nathan Chen continued: “However, the fact that people are talking about this issue and the Olympics are bringing it to light, I think is already a step in the right direction.”
 

BlueRidge

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This is a pretty devastating column from Fred Hiatt in the Washington Post: A Coke and a Genocide.

We have learned to think of genocide as industrial-scale slaughter: gas chambers, killing fields, mass graves. A report published last week by the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, “To Make Us Slowly Disappear,” suggests that China may have found a different way, more insidious if no less monstrous.

The campaign against the Uyghur population of western China, a Muslim minority of about 12 million people inside a nation of more than 1 billion, began with conventional discrimination, escalated to intense surveillance and mass detentions, and now includes forcible sterilization and insertion of IUDs; separation of men and women through incarceration, forced migration and coerced marriages of Uyghur women to men from the ethnic Han majority; and mass kidnapping of Uyghur children, taken from their parents and placed in state “boarding schools.”

The campaign is not without terrible violence, torture and killing, as survivor accounts make clear. But, the report says, it hinges on something else: “coercive interventions of the Chinese government to prevent sizable numbers of Uyghurs from coming into being.”
This suggests that the deliberate goal is “to biologically destroy the group, in whole or in substantial part.”

“The future of a people may depend on swift, coordinated action by global actors,” the report says.

Or we all can pretend it’s not happening, grab a Coke and enjoy the Games.
 

Orm Irian

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This is a pretty devastating column from Fred Hiatt in the Washington Post: A Coke and a Genocide.

The campaign against the Uyghur population of western China, a Muslim minority of about 12 million people inside a nation of more than 1 billion, began with conventional discrimination, escalated to intense surveillance and mass detentions, and now includes forcible sterilization and insertion of IUDs; separation of men and women through incarceration, forced migration and coerced marriages of Uyghur women to men from the ethnic Han majority; and mass kidnapping of Uyghur children, taken from their parents and placed in state “boarding schools.”

The campaign is not without terrible violence, torture and killing, as survivor accounts make clear. But, the report says, it hinges on something else: “coercive interventions of the Chinese government to prevent sizable numbers of Uyghurs from coming into being.”
This suggests that the deliberate goal is “to biologically destroy the group, in whole or in substantial part.”
It's an excellent, accurate summation of what the Chinese government is doing, but if anybody thinks this treatment of a minority group by a government that doesn't want them around is something new and different, it's not. With the exception of forcible sterilisation, because those technologies weren't initially available, this all matches up very closely with the historically preferred Western settler-colonial methods for genociding Indigenous peoples under a shield of vaguely plausible deniability.
 

Sylvia

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WaPo Opinion [by Josh Rogin]: Biden administration soon to announce diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/11/16/beijing-olympics-2022-biden-partial-boycott/
With the Beijing Winter Olympics just three months away, the Biden administration will soon have to make clear whether it plans to send an official delegation to China. But sooner rather than later, according to several sources familiar with the plans, the White House is expected to announce that neither President Biden nor any other U.S. government officials will attend the Beijing Games. This diplomatic boycott is intended, the sources say, as a way to respond to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses without impacting U.S. athletes.
Although the administration technically has not finalized this decision, a formal recommendation has been made to the president and he is expected to approve it before the end of the month, administration sources confirmed.
Biden administration officials have been virtually silent on Olympics-related issues in recent months, refusing to speculate on whether Biden would support a full athlete boycott (as human rights groups and activists are calling for), or a more limited boycott, or no boycott at all. Now that the Biden-Xi virtual summit is complete, sources said, the administration has one less reason to hold off on announcing the diplomatic boycott. The administration will inform allies but leave them to make their own decisions on whether to follow the U.S. lead.
 

Sylvia

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From the Associated Press - Olympic officials: Chinese tennis star Peng says she is safe:
Excerpt:
Sunday’s call — with IOC president Thomas Bach, athletes commission chair Emma Terho and IOC member Li Lingwei, a former vice president of the Chinese Tennis Association — appears to be Peng’s first direct contact with sports officials outside China since she disappeared from public view on Nov. 2.
Peng “thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being,” the Switzerland-based Olympic body said in a statement. [...]
Bach, the IOC president, has invited Peng to join him at a dinner when he arrives in Beijing in January “which she gladly accepted,” the IOC said Sunday. Terho and Li were also invited.
“I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern,” Terho said in the IOC statement. The hockey player from Finland represents athletes on the IOC executive board.
 

skatingguy

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Interesting that the IOC included Emma Terho. They must have known that if it was just Bach, and an IOC member from China that no one would have believed them.
 

Artistic Skaters

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It's very telling that China followed up with the IOC on this matter rather than with the womens' tennis organization that originally spoke up about her absence and committed to consequences against China. The IOC statement sounds like it prioritizes wheeling and dealing with countries like propaganda wielding China over their athletes.
 

Sylvia

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AP article by Stephen Wade:
Excerpts:
The IOC posted a photo that shows Bach facing a screen on which Peng appears but did not release video of the call. On the same day, China Open posted videos and photos of her appearance at a youth tennis tournament in Beijing that morning.
The IOC’s short statement, which offered few details and no follow-up on her allegations, seems unlikely to close the door on Peng’s case — and it’s leading to increasing criticism of the sports body, which was already facing calls for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which open on Feb. 4.
Even after the statement was published Sunday, the WTA repeated what chairman and CEO Steve Simon has been saying for more than a week, calling for a full, fair and transparent investigation “without censorship.”
Now, some critics say the IOC’s handling of the call with Peng makes it an active partner in delivering Beijing’s message — while not providing Peng with an open forum to discuss her allegations.
Yaqiu Wang, a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch, tweeted that the IOC is “actively playing a role in the Chinese government’s enforced disappearance, coercion and propaganda machinery.”
When asked about the criticism, the IOC said in a statement Monday that the main purpose of the call was to find out how Peng was — and that she “was very clear in confirming that she is safe and well.”
She agreed to stay in touch with Olympic officials — including having dinner with Bach in Beijing in January — and the body said it told her she could reach out whenever “she deems it appropriate.” It added that in order to respect Peng’s privacy, it would not comment further.
Reuters article:
 

Sylvia

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... Coe, who led the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee, spoke of his opposition to boycotts.
"That is a meaningless gesture and a damaging gesture," Coe told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.
"No Organising Committee or National Olympic Federation, if I’m being a little blunt here, is going to miss a Minister.
"But what does this mean and where does this leave our diplomatic mission?
"They are still on the frontline of diplomacy with China.
"Frankly, I think that is a hollow gesture.
"I think it is far better that you have ministers there, that you maintain diplomatic relationships, and that you ask the tough questions.
"Leaving the frontline diplomatic opportunities is a dilemma.
"It’s very damaging to pick your sporting parties predicated on transient political systems.
"Even [with] entrenched systems, you run the very real risk of destroying international sport, which is there and will be there long after these conditions change.
 

Sylvia

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Over the weekend, a series of photos and videos of Peng—attending a popular restaurant in downtown Beijing, signing autographs at a junior tennis tournament—began popping up on Twitter. But the accounts posting those images all were individuals connected to China's state-owned media or state-run sports system.
The call with Bach was Peng's first known direct contact with officials outside China since making her allegations. The IOC declined media requests to release a full video of the conversation.
Steve Tsang, a Chinese politics professor at the SOAS China Institute, told Fortune that in becoming a middleman between China and the world in the Peng case, the IOC may be undermining its own credibility. The IOC's call with Peng may "generate more pressure on democratic governments to boycott diplomatically the Winter Games," he said.
Bloomberg columnist Clara Ferreira Marques argues that Beijing's clumsy attempts to quash international outrage over its treatment of Peng Shuai "show just how hard it is for China to balance domestic imperatives and international goals—and what it will sacrifice to retain control." That sounds about right.
 

Sylvia

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As expected:
The Kremlin had previously indicated Putin would go to the Games, but China's proclamation he will attend comes amid growing momentum for a diplomatic boycott of the Games by Western nations over China's record on human rights.
Beijing 2022 is scheduled to be the first Olympics Putin has visited outside of Russia since London staged the Games in 2012, and the first where his country is technically not competing.
Putin attended the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, an event marred by the state-sponsored doping scandal the country carried out at the Games, and was joined by Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Opening Ceremony.
Zhao Lijian from the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed that the Russian President will be at the Beijing National Stadium for the Opening Ceremony on February 4.
 

Sylvia

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Replying to @BittyBug here instead of in GSD ;):
Spoiler: If Hanyu can stand upright, he is going to Beijing. Without the Pooh Bear.
Why can't Pooh go to Beijing?
 

Sylvia

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Piece by "Rome-based veteran foreign correspondent Daniel Williams [who] also has done a stint as a Human Rights Watch investigator":
Nevertheless, Chinese irritation is evident. Global Times has published stories criticizing any form of symbolic censure almost daily since mid-November, when Biden first broached the subject.
For international human rights advocates, government boycotts are only one field of combat with China – and perhaps not even the main center of activism. Private corporations poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the Olympics through sponsorships, money that goes not only to both the host country and the IOC.
Human Rights Watch has taken the lead in calling out global business sponsors for their silence on human rights issues. “The International Olympic Committee’s major corporate sponsors should explain publicly how they are using their leverage to address human rights abuses in China ahead of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games,” HRW wrote in November.
The companies deny complicity in repression and fall back on virtuous platitudes associated with the Olympic marketing. Allianz, the German insurance and finance management company, touts its sponsorship as part of its “core values of excellence, friendship, inclusion and respect.”
“We stand behind the Olympic Movement and our longstanding support for its ideals will not waver,” it told HRW.
Omega, the “Olympic Games official timekeeper,” said: “As a global brand, we are certainly aware of international tensions and monitor them carefully … We sincerely believe that the Olympic Games is a perfect opportunity to meet on common ground in the spirit of unity.”
At a US Congressional hearing in July, companies defended their Olympics participation. “We want to support connections at a global scale,” said David Holyoke, head of Olympics and Paralympics partnerships at Airbnb. “The Olympic Games have shown that sports can accomplish this goal, bringing the world together through an incredible and inspirational athletic competition.”
ETA: HBO was the "US cable network [website that] was blocked because a comedian [John Oliver in Nov. 2018] noted the resemblance of President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh."

By Reporters Without Borders:

By Stefan Nestler (German article translated into English):
 
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Oreo

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Don't know if this is in any of the above reports linked above, but Zhang Gaoili, the former vice premier who raped Peng Shuai, was instrumental in bringing the Olympic winter games to Beijing. He and IOC president, Thomas Bach, have met, and there are pictures of the two of them shaking hands. What a farce that Thomas Bach is called upon to do a bizarre video call to Peng Shuai and then announce everything seems fine.

Philip Hersh called it right in his tweet "The IOC's idea of 'quiet diplomacy' is to stay silent on anything that might piss off China."
 

Frau Muller

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On a macro level: The more I think about it, the more disgusted I am about these Games’ location.

On a micro level, as a FS fan: We’re on the cusp of having the daughter of an ex/Chinese protester (who escaped to the USA) lead the US fs team to Beijing. How ridiculous is this situation? Granted, Alysa still has to win Nationals and be selected to the team but it’s the likely scenario, given her elements & scores this fall.

I write “lead” because, for the larger US public, the woman is the face of figure skating.
 
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Frau Muller

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pollyanna

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White House announces US diplomatic boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing​



"The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics games given the PRC's ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang," Psaki said in the press briefing Monday.

Psaki added that Team USA has the administration's "full support" but that the administration would not be "contributing to the fanfare of the game."

Psaki also said the White House did not feel it was the "right step" or fair, to penalize US athletes by holding an entire US boycott of the Olympics.
 

caseyedwards

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Again that means all the reporters have to focus on getting the athletes opinions on competing In a country being boycotted by officials of that country! It makes the athletes look like they support genocide! It’s totally wrong! You want all the officials of the United States there to condemn the genocide or no one there! Everyone or no one
 

Artistic Skaters

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A diplomatic boycott is not enough when decisions harmful to athletes are being made due to IOC cronyism and corruption. Proactive measures including diplomatic pressure and actual consequences to the IOC (not athletes) need to be taken to prevent IOC from selecting countries like China in the first place. Otherwise they will just continue to use this guise of "helping" countries like China to see the light about human rights abuses while so often decisions made by their own organization operate in darkness.
 

Vagabond

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A diplomatic boycott is not enough when decisions harmful to athletes are being made due to IOC cronyism and corruption. Proactive measures including diplomatic pressure and actual consequences to the IOC (not athletes) need to be taken to prevent IOC from selecting countries like China in the first place. Otherwise they will just continue to use this guise of "helping" countries like China to see the light about human rights abuses while so often decisions made by their own organization operate in darkness.
The IOC has delegated the responsibility for selecting future hosts to a commission that has already chosen Brisbane to host the 2032 Summer Games. I suspect that using the commission, which will be less political and more technical than the IOC itself, will diminish the chances of siting the Games in countries with authoritarian regimes.
 

Sylvia

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NYTimes:

BBC:
On Chinese social media platform Weibo, the search topic "US diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics" was censored as of Tuesday morning.
Most of the comments below a post on the announcement by state media outlet Global Times were also deleted, leaving only eight out of close to 1,500 comments untouched.
Other countries - including Canada - have indicated they are considering the move. UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said his country would decide "in due course" whether to join the boycott, adding that he would not personally attend the Olympics. Officials in Japan and Australia have also said they are discussing the measure.
Lithuania announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics last week after China downgraded relations with the country over a row about Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan part of China, but Taiwan sees itself as independent.
New Zealand, meanwhile, said its officials would not attend due to concerns about the ongoing *********-19 *********. "But we've made clear to China on numerous occasions our concerns about human rights," Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told reporters.
BBC's Shanghai correspondent Robin Brant:
In the months building up to this decision, one senior US diplomat I spoke to said they'd try to educate their athletes about what's happening in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. They envisaged something like "fireside chats" among athletes between events in Beijing.
Will the UK now follow suit? London does not officially accuse Chinese President Xi Jinping's Communist regime of genocide, but Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has reportedly said just that in private conversations.
Some months ago, a senior UK official, intimately involved in policy on China, told me they thought the UK would be seen as America's "poodle" if it joined a boycott.
 
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AxelAnnie

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I think we should boycott the $hit out of the games. There are larger things at stake here than gold medals. I know...it is disappointing, sad, the loss of the opportunity of a lifetime.

If we go to the Olympics it is tacit agreement and overt support for a regime that is responsible for too many horrific civil rights atrocities. Have we completely lost our support of morality: From Websters:

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper, and it’s a construct of justice
 

Judy

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I haven't had time to read everything but are other countries joining in? My country being so slow .... 😡
 

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