Human rights activists in Japan are calling on the Biden administration to join them in boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The activists, campaigning to stop China's atrocities in Tibet and against the more than 1 million Uighurs being held in concentration camps, said countries which allow their athletes to compete in the Beijing Games would embolden China’s communist government in its brutal crackdowns on religious and ethnic minorities.
A coalition of 180 rights groups said in an open letter to international governments on Wednesday that a boycott of the Games would “ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government’s appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent”.
The Beijing Winter Olympics are due to open in February 2022, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is being pressured by critics of China’s abysmal human rights record.
“The IOC foolishly decided on having the winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing (so) we are forced to speak out,” Kalden Obara, president of a group called the Tibetan Community in Japan, told a news conference in Tokyo.
“If China doesn’t stop human rights violations in Tibet and the neighboring regions, then China should not be allowed to host this 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.”
Hidetoshi Ishii, vice president of the Free Indo-Pacific Alliance, called for countries, including the United States, to act in unison.
“This is not something that only Japan can do, so we want the international community to act together,” Ishii said. “We want the new Biden administration to join us.”
Despite overwhelming evidence and many witness accounts, the communist government in China continues to deny accusations of abuses in Xinjiang, and has claimed the concentration camps it is running are merely vocational training facilities aimed at stamping out Islamist extremism and separatism.
Biden's team has said it has no plans to bar U.S. athletes from taking part in Beijing 2022.
“We’re not currently talking about changing our posture or our plans as it relates to the Beijing Olympics,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a recent news briefing.