POSTED: March 19th 2015

Tibet organizations warn IOC that giving 2022 Games to Beijing would be a mistake

MARISSA FLANDERS / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) A report will be submitted today, by a global coalition of over 175 Tibet organizations, to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. The report will implore the IOC to reject the 2022 Winter Games bid by Beijing. The IOC is set to visit Beijing March 24th through the 28th.

Tibetan activities received global media attention during the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. The international campaign included demonstrations in China, disruptions to the torch relay and the arrest and deportation of campaigners in Beijing. 

The report "Losing the bet on human rights: Beijing and the Olympic Games," will be hand delivered and distributed to the IOC and its members in Lausanne. The title was picked, so that it highlighted the IOC's claim that human rights would improve in China, after Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympic Games in 2001. The IOC Director General, at the time, stated that the IOC was, "taking the bet that we will see many changes," regarding China's human rights.

In addition, the report shows how human rights abuses by China had actually increased before the Games. This includes the brutal suppression of the Tibetan uprising in March of 2008 against Chinese rule. Since the Games, things have continued to decline, with a concerted attack on defenders of human rights, since 2012, when President Xi Jinping came into power. Also, the repression in Tibet has increased.

Co-author of the report, Alistair Currie of Free Tibet expressed, "The old saying goes 'fool me once, shame on you: fool me twice, shame on me'. The IOC wanted to believe that China would get all dewy-eyed and idealistic under the influence of the 2008 Games. The reality was, that instead of increased sensitivity to human rights in Beijing, we saw increased self-confidence that abusing human rights was no problem on the world stage."

Currie continued saying, "Thomas Bach's recent comments that the IOC doesn't see awarding the Games as an endorsement of country's political systems simply doesn't reflect how host countries see it. For China, the Games are about polishing its image and boosting its global standing. If it cares about the battered reputation of the Olympics, the IOC can't give them this PR gift a second time around."

Tibet campaigners pressed the IOC, between 2001 and 2008, to fulfil statements made regarding repression in Tibet and human rights. Like the assertion made by former IOC President Jacques Rogge that, "if human rights are not acted upon to our satisfaction, we will act." However, these undertakings have not been met. Even recent IOC initiatives, aimed to safeguard human rights in host cities, don't seem to affect the wider repression made by host countries. Recently President Bach has stated, "choosing a host city does not mean that the IOC necessarily agrees with the political and/or the legal systems in the host country."

The report states, "..the Sochi Winter Olympics have again shown that the award of the Games is no deterrent to governmental policies starkly at odds with the Olympic spirit, and that the politics of a host nation can and does tarnish the reputation and aspirations of the Olympic movement. The IOC now faces the real possibility of making the same mistake again."

The report concludes, "China's performance between 2001 and 2008 makes it abundantly clear that the award of the Games itself will have no positive impact on its performance regarding human rights in China or Tibet... Without rigorous and robust policies in place to address human rights abuses . . . for Beijing, the Games will be an effective endorsement of its failure to improve human rights since 2008, not an incentive for future improvements."

"It would be foolish on the IOC's part to bet again on things improving in Tibet. Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympics on the same premise and events showed how unrealistic it was. Instead we saw widespread suppression and crackdown in Tibet. The IOC should also be mindful that their wrong decision last time caused global outcry and led to a worldwide campaign by Tibet's supporters. The IOC should be in no doubt that this will happen again," commented Tenzin Jigdal of the International Tibet Network, Dharmasala, India.

** MARISSA FLANDERS is a graduate of Saint Leo University with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Business. She has over four years of writing experience and has a real passion for ice hockey following the Pittsburgh Penguins on her blog

Keywords · Beijing 2022 · IOC · Tibet · Beijing 2008

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