News and Views on Tibet

Activists disrupt Beijing Olympics torch-lighting ceremony in Greece

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Protestors at the ancient Olympia site in Greece during torch-lighting ceremony on Monday (Photo/AP)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Oct 19: Three activists unfurled the Tibetan flag on Monday at the Beijing Olympics torch-lighting ceremony in Athens, Greece, calling for a boycott of the “Genocide Games”. Activists Chime Lhamo, Jason Leith and Fern Macdougal were pinned down by the security officers after the trio interrupted the event with slogans accusing China of committing genocide in occupied regions. The top officials including Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and IOC President Thomas Bach were also present at the ceremony. The event itself was not disturbed, and the activists were quickly taken away by the police.

“How can Beijing be allowed to host the Olympics [when] they are committing a genocide against the Uyghurs?” activist Chime Lhamo is heard in the ceremony video uploaded by the London-based Free Tibet. Two women and one man were able to get past the tight police security and entered the ancient archeological site of the Greek stadium and temple, where the Olympics flame is traditionally lit to announce the commencement of the next Games. All three of them are currently detained at Pyrgos, according to a statement sent by SFT as of 8:49 pm IST.

Greek police detained two activists for protesting against Beijing on Sunday (Photo- SFT)

Prior to the ceremony, four more activists from SFT and Tibetan Youth Association were detained by the Greek authorities on the account of standing on the public sidewalk outside of the venue at the ancient site of Olympia. “Minutes before the activists were detained, one of the Chinese officials identified himself to police as being ‘from the embassy’ and was overheard telling the police he wanted them gone . . . They were held at a nearby police station for four hours before being released,” the statement further clarified.

Moreover, two activists were detained by the Greek Police on Sunday, where two dozen police came to the protest site at the Acropolis in Athens. Tibetan activist Tsela Zoksang, 18, and Hong Kong activist Joey Siu, 22, were detained without any formal arrest at the time. Slogans like, “Free Hong Kong Revolution”, “Free Tibet”, “Boycott Beijing 2022” and “No freedom, no Games” were reportedly heard at the site. The duo was released on Monday after the torch-lighting ceremony was officially over.

Hundreds of rights groups have condemned China and the IOC for not addressing the egregious human rights abuses in Tibet, Hong Kong, East Turkestan and China. Last month, over 200 rights groups around the world urged 26 Olympic broadcasters including US based NBC to drop coverage of the Beijing Olympics on humanitarian grounds. 

The IOC have steered clear of the accusations by stating that the host country’s human rights record did not come under the committee’s remit. “The IOC’s remit is to ensure that there is no human rights abuse in respect of the conduct of the Games within the National Olympic Committees or within the Olympic movement,” Vice President John Coates said earlier this week.

The Greece’s Olympic Committee (HOC) said it was disappointed that the ceremony was used for ‘political purposes’. “While the HOC respects individual rights to freedom of expression, it is disappointing that this traditional cultural event has been used by a few individuals for other purposes,” HOC remarked in a statementThe Winter Olympics in Beijing is scheduled to run from Feb. 4 to 20 in 2022.

3 Responses

  1. Kudos to all who took part in the protest. We need more protest like this to highlight genocide being committed on Uyghurs and Tibetans in Tibet by the Communist Regime.

  2. The IOC’s decision to hold the 2021 Winter Olympics in Beijing is no different from holding the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. The IOC is a money grabbing, immoral organisation which is prepared to award the games to the highest bidder no matter how evil and criminal the bidder may be.
    It is common knowledge that communist China is one of the world’s worst human rights abusers if not the worst. It is universally accepted that communist China is committing genocide in Tibet and East Turkistan. It has imprisoned hundreds of democracy activists and eminent Press barons like Jimmy Lai (73 years old), democracy activists Martin Lee (80 years old)and Joshua Wong. In Tibet many Tibetan singers and writers have disappeared for good including the Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima who was abducted in childhood.
    Tibetan children are deprived of their language, religious freedom and their culture. Tibet and it’s people are captives of CCP tyranny for last the seven decades. Like wise more than a million Ughurs are in concentration camps in an attempt to indoctrinate them into Chinese culture and strip them of their heritage.
    It is threatening the peace in the Asia Pacific region by sending hundreds of bombers and fighter jets to intimidate democratic Taiwan. Yet, the IOC is blinded sided by the money they can make and put profit before people. It is supporting a regime which tramples on the very values of fairness, mutual respect and freedoms that the IOC claims to espouse. If this is not prostitution by the IOC at the hands of the CCP, what constitutes prostitution?
    Just as it cozied up to the world’s most ruthless Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler 85 years ago in Berlin, today it’s once again repeating its abominable history of cozying up the CCP dictatorship and bootlicking the megalomaniac and dictator for life Xi the brutal tyrant of communist China!

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