Olympic Committee Chairman Condemns China for Comments on Taiwan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region


International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has expressed rare condemnation to Beijing organizers for comments on Taiwan and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as the Chinese administration’s abuse continues to be scrutinized against the backdrop of the Winter Olympics. Did.

Beijing said at a press conference on February 18, the day after the Beijing Games representative declared that “there is only one China in the world” regarding Taiwan, it needs to be “politically neutral.” Officials also dismissed the government’s crackdown in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the main reason behind the diplomatic boycott of games staged by the United States and others, as a mere “lie.”

“So we didn’t ignore this issue,” Bach said when asked about a statement by Chinese officials.

“We contacted BOCOG shortly after this press conference,” he said using the acronym of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympics. “And both the BOCOG and IOC organizations reaffirmed their clear commitment to remain politically neutral, as required by the Olympic Charter.”

Even that measured tone, Bach’s remarks were unusual given that the IOC was generally reluctant to confuse Beijing.

Beijing Olympics spokesman Yang Jalong escaped from the evasive stance that Beijing authorities had maintained for more than two weeks on politically sensitive topics that he said were outside the scope of the Olympics. ..

“There is only China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of China,” Yang said on February 17 during the last regular briefing before the end of the tournament on Sunday. The comments were made after IOC spokesman Mark Adams gave a vague answer to the question about whether Taiwan would attend the closing ceremony.

According to Mr. Yang, Taiwan’s participation is a matter of “we must take a really solemn position.”

The Chinese Communist Party has always claimed that Taiwan, an island of autonomy and democracy, is a state of China. The administration has escalated military threats to its territory, sending fighters to the area frequently over the last few months, alerting to potential military conflicts in the area.

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At the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics held at the National Stadium known as the Birds Nest in Beijing on February 4, 2022, Taiwanese flag bearers Huang Yu-tei and Huang Qin are leading the delegation. (Vatsyayana / AFP via Manan Getty Images)

Taiwan, under Beijing’s claim, participates in the Olympics and other international sporting events as “Chinese Taipei”. The island did not send government officials to the Olympics and had no plans to have athletes at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, but changed the decision based on the IOC’s claims.

Yang is also convinced that IOC spokesman Adams has not procured athlete uniforms from forced labor in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, where more than one million Uighur Muslims are in camps. I rang a chime when asked if I was there.

“So-called forced labor in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is a lie made up of intentional groups,” she said, adding the frequently recurring line that the Chinese side is “against the politicization of sports.”

Adams replied that the uniforms provided by Chinese sponsor You (openly stating that the product uses Xinjiang cotton) do not contain cotton, and the IOC contaminated the product on the shelves. Avoided another question as to whether it is comfortable to represent a brand that may be.

“Honestly, I don’t know these products you’re talking about, but I’m sure you’ll be able to see them tomorrow,” said the IOC, “our sponsor, you. I am very proud. “

China celebrates National Foundation Day and Golden Week holidays in a pandemic
People wear masks when walking the ANTA, a partner store for the Beijing Winter Olympics in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on October 3, 2021. (Getty Images)

He was equally ambiguous when reporters suggested that Yang himself claimed Taiwan’s sovereignty and “politicized” the game. Location and game magic can occur. “

Taiwan accused Beijing on Friday of “using the Olympic venue to make inappropriate political promotions.”

In a statement, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a comment from a Chinese official “casts a shadow over the peaceful spirit embodied by the Olympic ring.”

Adams’ reluctance to challenge Yang’s allegations on Thursday also led to criticism from human rights groups.

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At the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing on February 4, 2022, fireworks in the shape of an Olympic ring will explode on the National Stadium. (LiXin / Pool / AFP via Getty Images)

Sophie Richardson, China Director of Human Rights Watch based in New York, said on Friday, “Yesterday’s press conference really taught us everything we needed to know about the players involved. I think. “

“The IOC looks ridiculous and pathetic, looks like a negativeist, and the Chinese government looks like a bully.”

She specifically mentioned Beijing’s choice to welcome Uighur athletes as the last torchbearer at the opening ceremony. She said she was surprised at the denial of all “terrible” human rights abuses and misconduct in the administration.

“It’s like the other middle finger in the world. The government says,” I don’t care what you say, I do whatever I want to do. ” “

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Eva Fu is a New York-based writer of The Epoch Times, focusing on Sino-US relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at [email protected]

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