Journey to Beijing: Protesters calling on athletes to boycott Beijing Games, saying China abuses human rights

China 2022

(NEXSTAR) — Every athlete’s journey to an Olympics is a grueling one — one that has become even more challenging during a pandemic.

But a group of protesters is calling on athletes to boycott the Beijing games. Activists say China is guilty of genocide.

As the countdown to the Beijing Olympics closes in on 100 days, pressure is mounting from activists.

“We are expecting the G7 governments to boycott the Winter Olympic Games,” said Zumretay Arkin with the World Uyghur Congress.

The activists disrupted the flame lighting ceremony in Greece and accused the International Olympic Committee of granting, quote… legitimacy to China’s human rights abuses by allowing the games to go on.

“This behavior is not only outrageous, it is immoral and criminal. It is essentially helping — aiding and abetting — the Beijing regime to carry out its propaganda and to cover up a sports-washing of its genocide,” said Pema Doma, campaigns director at Students for a Free Tibet.

China has been internationally criticized for its treatment of the Uyghur Muslims. Uyghur women have been sterilized and an estimated one million Uyghurs have been sent to re-education camps or sent away from their homes and families in the Xinjiang region to work forced labor camps.

“Human rights violations are abysmal and we all believe that it really tears the fabric of humanity,” said Evan Bates, an ice dancer.

Ice dancers Bates and Madison Chock are bidding to make their third Olympic team. In their sport, the Olympics is the ultimate stage. While they support the protesters’ cause, Bates says a boycott is not the answer.

“To boycott the games would be to not take the opportunity to shed light on this topic. And we will field the question and speak about how important it is to come together and support the Olympic movement, which is all about togetherness and humanity and representing the best sport has to offer,” Bates said.

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