Two Tibetan students are chained to the Olympic pentathlon in Lausanne

Two Tibetan students are chained to the Olympic pentathlon on Saturday at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Tibetan students are calling for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest the way minorities are treated in China.






Two protesting Tibetan students tied themselves to the Olympic pentathlon chains at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne.

Photo: VALENTIN FLAURAUD / AFP

Looking at the human rights situation in China, the US and Australia have already indicated that although athletes will attend the Games, their diplomats will stay away from the event. But French President Emmanuel Macron described the boycott as “not important”. He believed that politics should be kept out of sports and China should be forced to respect human rights by other means.

On the other hand, the Tibetan students protesting in Lausanne now called for a general boycott of the Olympics, which means that countries should not send their athletes to Beijing. The protesters called the Beijing Olympics the “Genocide Games”.

China occupied Tibet in 1950. Official Chinese Communist historiography described the invasion of the independent state as a “peaceful liberation”, although in fact Tibet has become one of the most severely isolated regions in the country since the occupation, with a large number of Han Chinese displaced in recent decades. This practice is considered by the Tibetan government-in-exile as “cultural genocide” because it has significantly altered the ethnic makeup of the occupied country.

China suffers similar cultural destruction in its far western region of Xinjiang, where members of the local Muslim population, the Uyghurs, are raised in concentration camps or forced to work far from their homeland while large numbers of Han Chinese settle in the province.

“In cooperation with China, the IOC will become complicit in the sins of the Chinese Communist Party,” Tenzing Dokhar, director of the TYAE campaign for the Tibetan student protest, told Reuters.

Witnesses who told Reuters described the protest as peaceful and police began dismantling it three hours later. However, in a statement to the International Olympic Committee, he accused the protesters of attempting to forcibly storm their headquarters while a security guard was injured. “The IOC has always taken into account all concerns directly related to the Olympics, and we have repeatedly contacted peaceful protesters to clarify our position. However, we are out of discussion with violent protesters trying to storm the building and injuring one person,” he said in a statement to the IOC. (via Reuters)

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