By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, February 17: As the International Olympic Committee prepare its visit to Beijing, one of the candidates vying to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games Tibetans and Tibet supporters called on IOC to pay attention to China’s gross violation of human rights in Tibet.
Tenzin Jigdel, International Coordinator of the International Tibet Network said, “The IOC side-lined Tibet last time – it needs to pay attention this time. The Beijing Olympics was the Tibet Olympics. If the IOC makes the same mistake again, it can be in no doubt that 2022 will be Tibet’s Olympics again.”
The International Tibet Network will also submit a dossier to the IOC before its visit to Beijing in March detailing how it had failed to achieve any improvement in human rights before 2008, and how repression has got even worse in Tibet since, said JIgdal.
In 2008, the year Beijing hosted the Olympic Games, a widespread demonstration against Chinese regime took place across Tibet.
“The IOC’s apparently blind faith that the award of the Games would improve human rights in China was proved empty in 2008. Events in Tibet and China since have shown that the legacy of the Games hasn’t been increased sensitivity to human rights in Beijing but increased self-confidence that abusing human rights is no problem on the world stage. The IOC got it wrong. It had its fingers burned and it should show it is smart enough not to make the same mistake again by awarding the 2022 Games to Beijing. That’s a point we’ll be making very strongly to the IOC over the coming months,” said Alistair Currie of UK based NGO Free Tibet.
“In 2008, worldwide attention on repression in Tibet and the international campaign by Tibet activists served notice to the International Olympic Committee that the Olympics can’t float above events in its host country. In 2014, Sochi confirmed it. The IOC introduced some welcome new measures to host city contracts last year but these aren’t going to stop the big controversies coming up again.”
Currie further noted that Beijing has proved itself unworthy of the Games and that Almaty, the commercial capital of the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, needs to prove itself worthy – if it can.
Almaty is competing in the race to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games after four other countries withdrew due to financial and political reasons.
The IOC began its five-day visit to Almaty on February 13 to assess the city’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
The IOC panel will visit Beijing from March 24-28 and will announce the host city on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
China is confident that it will win the bid to host the 2022 Winter Games and has already announced three zones that will host the games.