Activists Protest Beijing Winter Olympics at Torch-Lighting

A police officer tries to cease protesters from displaying a Tibetan flag and a banner studying “NO GENOCIDE GAMES” throughout the lighting of the Olympic flame at Historic Olympia website.
Photograph: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/Shutterstock

Time flies when you don’t have any concept what day it’s; proper now, for instance, it might be August or any of the summer season months, although it may simply as simply be spring. Someway I’ve a tough time believing that it’s truly October, and that the Olympics are nonetheless a number of months away, and that they’re already catalyzing protests as a result of alleged abuses by the host metropolis and ethically questionable conduct by the Worldwide Olympic Committee on the whole. Looks as if we simply did this information cycle, however … okay, right here we’re once more, I suppose.

Per the Associated Press, a trio of activists crashed the torch-lighting ceremony in Greece’s Temple of Hera on Monday, carrying a banner emblazoned with “NO GENOCIDE GAMES.” Since earlier than the Summer time Video games even, human-rights organizations have urged the IOC to withdraw Beijing’s Winter Olympics privileges — town is ready to host in February; normally we get extra space between summer season and winter festivities, however the coronavirus pandemic delayed the previous by a 12 months — citing China’s alleged detention of Muslim Uighur, an ethnic group dwelling in an autonomous area of the nation. The United Nations suspects that between 2017 and 2018, the Chinese language authorities had pressured over 1 million Uighur into internment camps, which have solely grown extra crowded since. In detention, Uighur are believed to be tortured and sexually abused and made to surrender their faith in favor of state doctrine. China additionally seems to be conscripting Uighur into pressured labor underneath inhumane situations and could also be subjecting them to pressured contraception, sterilization, and abortion as nicely.

For all these causes and extra, teams together with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Worldwide have condemned the IOC’s choice to carry the Winter Video games in China. Predictably, although, the athletic physique has declined to withdraw its contract, IOC president Thomas Bach trotting out the Olympics as “politically impartial floor” protection.

“Solely this political neutrality ensures that the Olympic Video games can stand above and past the political variations that exist in our occasions,” Bach mentioned of Monday’s protests, per the AP. “The Olympic Video games can’t handle all of the challenges in our world. However they set an instance for a world the place everybody respects the identical guidelines and each other.”

That final level is debatable, because the latest Summer time Olympics (which ran from late July to early August, simply to mitigate any temporal confusion) made clear. The IOC presides over an occasion during which sport authorities typically hold athletes of color to demonstrably completely different requirements than their white friends but demand that competitors stand up and support systems which have by no means supported them. After which there are the revelations of rampant sexual abuse in swimming, gymnastics, and different sports activities — allegations that don’t evince a excessive degree or respect for athletes nor the principles.

Anyway, police reportedly tackled and detained the three protesters who interrupted the torch-lighting ceremony; additionally they stopped one other group of activists earlier than they accessed the location. Regardless of growing calls for a boycott, the IOC has no plans to renege on Beijing: The Video games will start on February 4, with solely spectators from mainland China at present allowed within the stands — one of many protocols instituted in deference to COVID security. Déjà vu, no? | Activists Protest Beijing Winter Olympics at Torch-Lighting


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