Below is a joint statement from over 240 nongovernmental organizations, including the International Campaign for Tibet, calling for a diplomatic boycott and other actions related to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will open amid atrocity crimes and other grave human rights violations by the Chinese government, 243 nongovernmental organizations from around the world said today. The groups urged governments to join a diplomatic boycott of the Games, slated to begin February 4, 2022, and for athletes and sponsors not to legitimize government abuses.

“It’s not possible for the Olympic Games to be a ‘force for good,’ as the International Olympic Committee claims, while the host government is committing grave crimes in violation of international law,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

Under President Xi Jinping, Chinese authorities have been committing mass abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans, ethnic groups, and religious believers from all independent faith groups. They have eliminated independent civil society by persecuting human rights activists, feminists, lawyers, journalists, and others. The government has eviscerated a once-vibrant civil society in Hong Kong, expanded tech-enabled surveillance to significantly curtail the rights to expression, association, and peaceful assembly, and allowed the use of forced labor, in violation of international law.

Chinese authorities also continue to threaten members of diaspora communities, public figures, and companies beyond China’s borders through a sophisticated campaign of transnational repression.

“That the Winter Olympics is held in Beijing sends a signal to the world that Xi Jinping’s government is normal,” said Renee Xia, Director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders. “When the world rationalizes away such an abusive situation, it makes it harder for victims to stand up against injustice.”

Since the Chinese government was awarded the 2022 Winter Games in 2015, nongovernmental organizations and media outlets have documented numerous serious human rights violations by Chinese authorities. Those include:

  • Arbitrary detention, torture, and forced labor of millions of Uyghurs and other Turkic groups in Xinjiang (the Uyghur region);
  • Decimation of independent media, democratic institutions, and rule of law in Hong Kong;
  • High-tech surveillance systems enabling authorities to track and unjustly prosecute peaceful conduct, including criticism shared through apps, such as WeChat;
  • Prosecution of people exercising rights to free expression, peaceful assembly, and association on behalf of vulnerable populations, including the lawyers Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, the citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, the Tibetan monk and writer Go Sherab Gyatso, and public health activists known as the Changsha Funeng group; and
  • Arbitrary detention, torture, and forcible disappearance of human rights defenders, including Gao Zhisheng and Guo Feixiong.

“The spectacle of the Olympics cannot cover up genocide,” said Omer Kanat, executive director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project. “It’s hard to understand why anyone feels it’s even possible to celebrate international friendship and ‘Olympic values’ in Beijing this year.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that its human rights obligations, announced in 2017, do not apply to the 2022 Winter Games. The IOC has not met its responsibilities under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by carrying out human rights due diligence despite the well-documented abuses in China, the groups said.

In other respects, the IOC has shown that its stated commitment to human rights means little. IOC President Thomas Bach participated in a Chinese government propaganda campaign to whitewash the sexual assault allegations brought by three-time Olympian Peng Shuai. The IOC has been unwilling to meet with the End Uyghur Forced Labor (EUFL) coalition, and has sported uniforms made by a company credibly alleged to use forced labor.

“The IOC claims that sport and politics do not mix, but the Chinese government was the one that used the 2008 Beijing Olympics to serve its political interests,” said Bhuchung K. Tsering, interim president of the International Campaign for Tibet. “Tibetans in Tibet then took the risk to tell the world about this, but the IOC didn’t pay heed. The upcoming Beijing Olympics is a unique opportunity for the IOC and governments to empower their athletes and press Chinese authorities to abide by international norms.”

The top corporate sponsors of the Games – Airbnb, Alibaba, Allianz, Atos, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Intel, Omega, Panasonic, P&G, Samsung, Toyota, and Visa – have also not fulfilled their human rights due diligence responsibilities. The companies have not provided meaningful public responses to concerns that their sponsorship creates or contributes to human rights violations, or whether they have acted to mitigate those violations. Sponsors should immediately disclose their human rights due diligence strategies, or explain their failure to carry out such assessments, the groups said

Several governments, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games in response to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses. They will send no senior officials – a longstanding Olympic tradition – to the opening or closing ceremonies. All governments, whether joining the diplomatic boycott or not, should use the opportunity to not only support the athletes participating in the Games, but also demonstrate concrete support for human rights defenders across China.

“We urge governments to send messages of support to human rights defenders in prison or detention who are paying a great price for advocating reform, defending the rights of others, or simply discussing ways to strengthen civil society in China,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China.

Those participating in the Beijing Olympics face a host of human rights risks, the groups said. IOC rules prohibit athletes from publicly expressing their views on human rights in China on the Olympic podium, and Chinese authorities’ retaliation against critics creates a chill for athletes worldwide. The Chinese government’s willingness to arbitrarily detain foreigners for peaceful criticism, such as the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, further limits free speech. Olympic athletes, coaches, and other support staff are also likely to be subjected to pervasive state surveillance, particularly through monitoring of digital communications.

“Athletes upholding Olympic ideals should not have to face omnipresent surveillance, repression of free speech or belief, and an insecure human rights environment to participate in the Games,” said Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid.

Spectators around the world watching the Winter Games can play a positive role by educating themselves about the human rights environment inside China, and can take actions ranging from purchasing products not made with forced labor to encouraging their own governments to pursue accountability for Chinese government officials responsible for the worst international crimes. People can urge companies to sign the EUFL coalition’s Call to Action.

“The stark reality of the Chinese government’s atrocity crimes and ongoing impunity should compel the IOC, sponsors, and others associated with the Olympics to question whether these Games are legitimizing and prolonging grave abuses,” said Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress. “No one should want another Olympics like this.”

Nongovernmental Organization Signatories:

1. 6.12 Manchester Working Group
2. ACAT Belgium
3. Adas Israel Social Action Committee
4. Alberta Uyghur Association
5. All Citizenship Compact
6. Alliance for Vietnam’s Democracy
7. ALTSEAN-Burma
8. American Alliance for Automotive Corporate Social Responsibility
9. Amigos del Tibet Chile
10. Anti-China Expansion Movement
11. Anti-Slavery International
12. Army of Survivors
13. ARTICLE 19
14. Asociación Cultural Tibetano-Costerricense
16. Athenai Institute
17. Athlete Activist
18. Athlete Ally
19. Australia Tibet Council
20. Australian Centre for International Justice
21. Australian East Turkestan Association
22. Australian Uyghur Association
23. Australian Uyghur Tangritagh Women’s Association
24. Austria Uyghur Association
25. Bauhinias For Freedom
26. Bay Area Friends of Tibet
27. Be Slavery Free
28. Belgium Uyghur Association
29. [Redacted For Anonymity]
30. Bloc 8406 International
31. Blue Crescent Humanitarian Aid Association
32. Campaign For Uyghurs
33. Captive Nations Coalition of the Committee on Present Danger: China
34. China Against the Death Penalty
35. China Human Rights Defenders
36. ChinaAid
37. Chinese Democracy And Human Rights Alliance
38. Christian Coalition for Uyghur Freedom
39. Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
40. Citizen Power Initiatives for China
41. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
42. Comitato Lady Lawyer Village
43. Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet CAT
44. Congregation Beth Ora
45. Consortium for Intersectional Justice
46. Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience
47. Corporate Accountability Lab
48. CSW
49. Czech Support Tibet
50. Dawn of HongKong
51. Den norske uyghur komiteen
52. Dialogue China
53. Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids
54. Dutch Uyghur Human Rights Foundation
55. East Turkestan Press and Media Association
56. East Turkestan Union of Muslim Scholars
57. East Turkistan Association in Finland
58. East Turkistan Association of Canada
59. [Redacted For Anonymity]
60. East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association
61. East Turkistan Entrepreneur Tradesmen and Industrialists Businessmen Association
62. East Turkistan Human Rights Watch Association
63. East Turkistan New Generation Movement
64. East Turkistan Nuzugum Culture and Family Association
65. East Turkistan Sports and Development Association
66. East Turkistan Union in Europe
67. Eastern Turkistan Foundation
68. Emgage Action
69. Equality League
70. European East Turkistan Education Association
71. Family Research Council
72. FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
73. FIDU – Italian Federation for Human Rights
74. [Redacted For Anonymity]
75. Finnish Uyghur Culture Center
76. Football Supporters Europe
77. Frankfurt Stand With Hong Kong
78. Free Tibet
79. Free Uyghur Now
80. Freedom House
81. Freedom Ummah
82. Friends of Hong Kong Calgary
83. Friends of Tibet Bulgaria
84. Front Line Defenders
85. [Redacted For Anonymity]
86. Germany Stands with Hong Kong
87. Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities
88. Global Athlete
89. Global Peace Mission (GPM) Malaysia
90. Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete-Portugal
91. Havurat Shalom
92. [Redacted For Anonymity]
93. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
94. Hong Kong Committee in Norway
95. Hong Kong Democracy Council
96. Hong Kong Watch
97. Hong Kongers in San Francisco Bay Area
98. Hongkonger in Deutschland e.V.
99. HOPE not hate
100. Human Rights Foundation
101. Human Rights in China
102. Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa
103. Human Rights Watch
104. Human Rights Without Frontiers
105. Human Trafficking Search
106. Humanitarian China
107. Ilham Tohti Initiative
108. Indonesia Save Uyghur
109. International Campaign for Tibet
110. International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse In China (ETAC)
111. International Pen Uyghur Center
112. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
113. International Society for Human Rights
114. International Support for Uyghurs
115. International Tibet Network
116. International Union of East Turkistan Organizations
117. International Uyghur Human Right and Democracy Foundation
118. Isa Yusup Alptekin Foundation
119. Islamic Community Milli Gorus
120. Islamic Information Services Foundation
121. Japan Uyghur Association
122. Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee Detroit
123. Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom
124. Jewish World Watch
125. Judicial Reform Foundation
126. Justice For All
127. Justice for Uyghurs
128. Lady Lawyer Foundation
129. Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice
130. [Redacted For Anonymity]
132. Louise Xin Group
133. LUNGTA – Actief voor Tibet
134. Malaysia Consultative Council of Islamic Organization (MAPIM)
135. Malaysia4Uyghur
136. Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations
137. Minaret Foundation
138. Minh Van Foundation
139. Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
140. Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM)
141. National Clergy Council
142. Netherlands for Hong Kong
143. Norwegian Uyghur Committee
144. Omer Uygur Foundation
145. Overseas Liaison Office Representative for The Interfaith Council in Vietnam
146. Peace Catalyst International
147. Perth Anti-CCP Association
148. Power of Sport Lab / Athletes for Human Rights
149. People for Successful Corean Reunification (PSCORE)
150. Religious Freedom Institute
151. René Cassin, the Jewish voice for human rights
152. Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
153. Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
154. Satuq Bugrakhan Foundation of Science and Civilization
155. Silk Road Peace Project
156. SoCal Students for Uyghur Justice
157. Society for Threatened Peoples
158. Society Union of Uyghur National Association
159. Stand with HK@JPN
160. Stand with Hong Kong Vienna
162. Stefanus Alliance International
163. [Redacted for Anonymity]
164. Stop Uyghur Genocide UK
165. Stop Uyghur Genocide Australia
166. Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada
167. Students for a Free Tibet – Denmark
168. Students for Free Tibet – Japan
169. Students For Liberty – Myanmar
170. Sweden Uyghur Education Union
171. Swedish Tibet Committee
172. Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association
173. Switzerland East Turkestan Association
174. Sydney Uyghur Association
175. Taiwan Association for China Human Rights
176. Taiwan Association for Human Rights
177. Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada
178. Temple Shalom
179. Thailand and Hong Kong Together
180. The Army of Survivors
181. The Community Human Rights Promotion and Protection Association (ACPDH)
182. The Norwegian Tibet Committee
184. The Tibet Support Committee, Denmark
185. The Viet Democratic Side’s International Forum
186. Tibet Action Institute
187. Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V.
188. Tibet Justice Center
189. Tibet Mx
190. Tibet Solidarity
191. Tibet Support Group Ireland
192. Tibetan Community in Britain
193. Tibetan Parliament in Exile
194. Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
195. Transparency International Deutschland e.V.
196. Tso Pema Non-Profit
197. Uigur Society of the Kyrgyz Republic
198. Uigurische Gemeinde Österreich
199. Umer Uyghur Trust
200. Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam
201. United Council of Vietnamese Homeland and Overseas
202. universitet Sulayman Demirel
203. Uyghur Academy Australia
204. Uyghur Academy Canada
205. Uyghur Academy Europe
206. Uyghur Academy Foundation
207. Uyghur Academy Japan
208. Uyghur Academy USA
209. Uyghur American Association
210. Uyghur Association of Victoria
211. Uyghur Center for Human Rights and Democracy
212. Uyghur Cultural and Education Union in Germany
213. Uyghur Education Union
214. Uyghur Human Rights Project
215. Uyghur Projects Foundation
216. Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund
217. Uyghur Research Institute
218. Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project
219. Uyghur Science and Civilization Research Foundation
220. Uyghur Support Group Netherlands
221. Uyghur Transitional Justice Database
222. Uyghur U.K. Association
223. Uyghur Youth Union in Kazakhstan
224. Uzbekistan Uyghur Culture Center
225. Verein der Tibeter in Deutschland
226. Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
227. Victoria Uyghur Association
228. Vietnamese Community of Pomona Valley
229. Visual Artists Guild
230. We The Hongkongers
231. [Redacted For Anonymity]
232. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers
233. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
234. World Uyghur Congress Foundation
235. (美国)民主中国阵线
236. 加拿大价值守护者联盟
237. 台灣聯合國協進會
238. 民主中華傳媒
239. 民主黨洛杉磯委員會
240. 洛杉矶中国民主平台
241. 自由中國
242. 自由雕塑公園
243. 華人基督徒公義團契