By Tenzin Lekdhen
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 26: Tibetan teenager, Yangjin Lhamo, has qualified to compete in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. The 18-year-old girl reportedly scored the best performance of athletes representing China at the 2021/22 FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup held in Siberia, Russia at the beginning of this year.
The snowboarder from Chamdo majored in the city’s school of sports techniques and was selected as a snowboard cross athlete in 2018, wrote China Daily, a media outlet owned by the Publicity Department of the CCP. The snowboarder, in an interview, said, “I am very excited to be qualified to compete in the Beijing Winter Olympics. I will prepare well, and I will try my best in the competition to win glory for my country.”
Activists and rights groups have called for the boycott of the “genocide games” and campaigned against the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and sponsors citing gross human rights violations in China’s colonised regions.
Youdon Aukatsang, a four-time Member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, told Phayul that we cannot pretend the events happening in China are normal amidst all the human rights atrocities. “Yangjin Lhamo is not free to voice her opinion or protest by not participating in the Olympics. She has to put up a front which is enforced by China, the most repressive regime in the world. China is trying to whitewash its image and she is being forced to put on a facade of being happy to represent PRC.”
Aukatsang, who has supported the #BoycottBeijing2022 campaigns and called for the boycott of the winter Olympics, further added, “My position on the Beijing Olympics is very clear! We need to boycott the Beijing Olympics and the more governments, athletes and people join this boycott the better.”
This would not be the first time a Tibetan Olympian will represent China. Choeyang Kyi, at the London Summer Olympics, won a bronze in the women’s 20-km race walk. According to China Daily, the Tibet Autonomous Region’s sports bureau has listed three Tibetan athletes to date, who have qualified for the winter Olympics. Due to China’s practice of sinicising names of places and people to depict their ownership, regardless of credibility, Phayul has not been able to independently verify their names due to heavy sinicization of the athletes’ Tibetan names. Yangjin Lhamo’s name has been listed as “Yongqinglamu.” The same has been the case with Sonam Darjiee, a Tibetan mixed martial artist in the UFC, whose real name has been sinicised to “Su Mudaerji”.