By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 4: The five prominent Dharamshala-based Tibetan NGOs on Tuesday called for India to join the diplomatic boycott spearheaded by the US last month, as they marked the one-month countdown to the winter Olympics in Beijing. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has been urged throughout the last year to either redirect the games to another host or postpone it for later; both pleas have been shunned by the committee reasserting that Olympics is not political.
The global day of action marked the ‘No Beijing 2022’ campaign where Uyghur, Hong Konger, Tibetan, Southern Mongolian, and Taiwanese activists and supporters raised their concerns for the human rights abuses in these occupied regions. The activist groups also called for the Indian government to join countries which have decided not to send any official representation at the Olympics. “It is high time India as the largest democratic country in the world should join the momentum and at least call for diplomatic boycott of Genocide games 2022 and counterbalance China and let China know that India won’t stay silent to the human rights atrocities and stand with justice,” the press release said.
The governments, Olympics committees, sponsors and other interest groups were also urged to take a stand against “one of the worst human rights crises of our time”. The statement cited Freedom House’s list of Tibet being the least-free country in the world tied with Syria in 2020, the ‘re-education camps’ in East Turkestan that are built to control the Muslim minorities, and recent arrests of journalists and activists in Hong Kong over pro-democracy campaign. “For two decades, representatives of the coalition have repeatedly sought to inform the IOC about these conditions, explaining the dangers of awarding China the Olympics Games, and caution against accepting any human rights assurances from one of the world’s worst human rights violators,” it further read.
The collaborators said that they believed that boycotting the Winter Games could pave a “way to build pressure on China to take positive, tangible steps to end the overwhelming situation”. US, Lithuania, New Zealand, Scotland, Belgium, Taiwan, Australia, UK, Canada and Kosovo have officially announced that no official delegation would be present in Beijing next month, however the athletes of these countries would be allowed to participate. This year’s games will be held from February 4 to 20, and China would then become the only country to host both Summer (2008) and Winter (2022) Olympics.