By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 2: A top Muslim group in the United States has urged the U.S. Olympic National Committee to boycott the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing over the Chinese government’s mass detention and repression of Uyghur Muslims.
Emgage, a group that promotes Muslim-American voices in the mainstream politics, has said that the ongoing persecution of the minority is a “campaign of ethnic genocide”. Emgage CEO Wa’el Alzayat said, “The Olympic Games are a showcase of what is best of humanity and a celebration of our differences. The mass incarceration of Muslim minorities in China and the intentional attempt to erase their identity are anathema to the Olympic spirit.
“We cannot as Americans participate in good conscience in these Games as long as these concentration camps are operational,” Alzayat added.
Similar appeals have also been made to the International Olympic Committee to revoke China as the host of the 2022 winter game, but observers say that the apex Olympic body is unlikely to entertain such requests as the IOC has been known to side with regimes in the past.
Michael Mazza, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior non-resident fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute, wrote in the LA Times, “A cancellation, relocation or boycott of the Games would mark a significant international and domestic embarrassment for Xi. News of the reasons behind such a development would certainly make its way past China’s Great Firewall. Using the Olympics as leverage could be quite effective because doing so would challenge Xi’s leadership.”
Following the recent leak of over 4000 internal Chinese government documents which showed systematic Chinese government assault on the Uyghur people, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Xinjiang Papers showed China’s intent to “effectively erase” the people of the minority group.
The leaked papers revealed that China is operating nearly 500 prisons and camps in the western China region known as Xinjiang, or East Turkestan where former detainees have described experiencing torture, medical experiments, rape, forced abortions, among other horrendous acts.