BY JANICA STOCKING
The 2022 Winter Olympics has been a topic of mass interest lately. The games began on February 4th and run until the 20th. The Olympics are being held in Beijing, China right now because of the controversy surrounding China’s lack of human rights. While most countries have sent athletes to compete at the Olympics this year, some countries are diplomatically boycotting the Olympics (for multiple different reasons). Some of the countries who are currently diplomatically boycotting the Olympics include the United States, the UK, Canada, India, Australia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Belgium, Denmark and Estonia. These countries are especially concerned about the several violations of human rights in China. While exact numbers aren’t know, various human rights groups estimate that over one million Uyghurs have been imprisoned in “re-education camps.” Hundreds of thousands of the Uyghur Muslim population in China have been sentenced to prison time. Many human rights groups say that there is evidence that atrocities such as forced labor and sterilization has occurred.
One Uyghur camp survivor, Tursunay Ziawudun, has told the media about her experiences in a Uyghur camp, describing that sexual assault, rape, and torture were common amd were committed against women “every night.” Even after escaping the camp she lived in fear that the Chinese government would find her and she would be tortured or punished in China. With the passage of even more laws restricting the human and political rights of the Chinese people, Human Rights Watch declared that the Chinese have been more repressed than ever. As China continues to deny that it is violating various human rights, China has condemned the US for its boycott. China claims that the US has “violated the Olympic spirit”, and “will pay a price for its erroneous actions.”
In addition to the many human rights concerns, other countries are boycotting for other reasons. While Japan isn’t sending government officials, it is sending Olympic committee officials. It follows the US and other countries in boycotting due to human rights, but did not specify the intent of their boycott. In addition, New Zealand, Austria, Slovenia, Sweden and the Netherlands are not sending representatives of their governments due to ongoing COVID concerns. There have also been many security and tracking concerns in China, leading to many countries advising travelers to leave their real phone at home and only travel with a burner.
What has the Chinese government done to Uyghurs? (according to claims made by other countries & human rights orgnaizations)