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Human Rights Groups Urge Broadcast Boycott of Beijing 2022 Winter Games

Winter Games
(Image credit: IOC)

A coalition of over 200 global campaign groups representing Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hongkongers, Chinese, Southern Mongolians, Taiwanese, and other affected and concerned communities have sent a letter to leading broadcasters worldwide, urging them to cancel broadcasting deals to cover the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, citing the country’s human rights abuses

“All of your companies are at serious risk of being complicit in China’s plan to “sport wash” the severe and worsening human rights abuses and embolden the actions of the Chinese authorities,” they wrote. “By broadcasting Beijing 2022 your companies will legitimize these abuses and promote what is being widely described as the ‘Genocide Games.’”

Despite the Chinese government’s promise that the games will promote an “open and inclusive,  harmonious world” and promote “social progress,” the groups said that “for those living under China’s oppressive rule, daily life is anything but.

“It is instead characterized by a merciless crackdown on individual and collective rights and freedom, an all-out assault on cultural diversity, and a tearing apart of community cohesion through sophisticated methods of surveillance and control. At least two million Muslims— including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks—are locked in 're-education camps' undergoing systematic torture and political re-education." 

The groups also cited a “deteriorating” situation in occupied Tibet, calling it “the least free place in the world for civil and political rights, alongside Syria.” It also noted threats to democracy in Hong Kong as well the routine disappearance of government critics, feminists, and academics in mainland China

“Much like in 2008, [when China last hosted the Olympics] the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has attempted to counter concerns about human rights abuses in China by asserting that the Games will positively affect China’s rights record,” the groups said. “The IOC also pledged to take action should China fall short in meeting its human rights promises. Subsequent developments showed this faith to be misplaced as the Chinese government repeatedly backtracked on the human rights pledges it made to secure the right to host the Games and there was no accountability by the IOC and the international community. Instead, China was given a free pass to wantonly violate human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The letter was sent to BBC, Discovery, RTVE, Sky, France Télévisions, ARD and NBC, among others and can be read here

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Technology (www.tvtechnology.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.