This article was originally published by Radio Free Asia and is reprinted with permission.
Calls are growing for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, with campaigners around the world citing the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong.
A coalition of 16 advocacy groups in Taiwan urged the country’s Legislative Yuan to join 11 Western nations and parliaments in passing a resolution calling on their governments to withdraw from the event.
They also called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to find another venue for the Games, and on the public to boycott any brands that sponsor the event.
The Taiwan-based Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee should cancel plans to send athletes to the winter games and change its name to the Taiwan Olympic Committee, the groups said in a joint statement on June 23, International Olympics Day.
“Having athletes compete peacefully inside a venue while the most unsportsmanlike enslavement of an entire society is being played outside would be the ultimate irony,” Shih Yi-hsiang, head of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, told an online news conference.
The president of the Taiwan East Turkestan Association, which campaigns for the rights of Uyghurs, cited the mass surveillance and incarceration of an entire population in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
“China has instituted a surveillance system to transform the Xinjiang region into a prison without walls for an entire population,” He Chao-tung said.
“Today, on International Olympics Day, Taiwan can still speak freely, so it should stand on the same side as international freedom, human rights, and justice,” he said.
“[We] call on Taiwan’s parliament to pass a resolution to boycott the Winter Olympics as soon as possible.”
Tashi Tsering, chairman of the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, said he traveled to Bangkok and Nagano, Japan during the 2008 Beijing Olympics to protest as the Olympic torch made its way to Beijing, and was detained in Japan for 23 days for his trouble.
He said that 157 Tibetans have self-immolated in the past eight years alone in protest at the CCP’s policies targeting Tibetans.
“In the years since [the Summer Olympics in] 2008 … the CCP regime has gotten worse and worse, harming not just Tibetans, but bullying Uyghurs and the people of Hong Kong, too,” he said.
“The CCP hasn’t changed,” he said.
Fascist, totalitarian regime
Meanwhile, Lee Chih, who heads the Taiwan Hong Kong Association, said Beijing’s rights record meant it isn’t fit to embody the Olympic spirit.
“Beijing should not be allowed to host the Winter Olympics while it commits genocide and abuses human rights,” Lee told journalists.
And Taiwan United Nations Alliance spokesman Tseng Tsung-kai said there is a danger that holding the Olympics in Beijing will give a platform to a fascist, totalitarian regime.
“Appeasing China now means allowing the destruction of the pathway to democracy for the world,” Tsai warned.
‘The only permitted deity’
Huang Chun-sheng, senior pastor of the Jinan Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, also cited the CCP’s persecution of Christians and other religious believers, which has intensified under general secretary Xi Jinping.
“Under CCP rule, the only permitted deity is the CCP itself, and religion only exists to serve the CCP,” Huang said.
“In order to demonstrate that the CCP takes precedence over all religions, the party has launched a zero tolerance campaign with the aim of de-scaling, de-organizing and de-churching Chinese Christians,” he said.
“The more churches pursue the values of the Kingdom of Heaven, the bigger and more organized they will become, and the greater a threat to the CCP,” Huang said.
Nury Turkel, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and chair of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, wrote in a June 2 commentary in Foreign Policy that the world “may finally be waking up to the horrors of the genocide being committed by the CCP against the Uyghur people.”
“The parallels between the CCP’s treatment of the Uyghurs and the Nazi Party’s treatment of Jews and other minorities are undeniable, from implementing mass sterilization of Uyghur women to interning Uyghurs in concentration camps and forcing them to perform slave labor in Chinese factories,” Turkel said.
“Thus far, the world’s response has eerily recalled the failed reaction to dictator Adolf Hitler’s atrocities in the 1930s and 1940s,” he said, citing ongoing silence from many countries and a refusal to acknowledge the issue by the IOC, which also allowed Nazi Germany to host the 1936 Summer Olympics.
“The international community must ensure the Olympic Games does not take place in the shadow of concentration camps once again,” Turkel wrote. “Business as usual is not an option.”