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Rights groups call for diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An alliance of 243 human rights and non-governmental organizations have called for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics days before the Games are due to start.

Beijing, 28 September 2022 (dpa/MIA) — An alliance of 243 human rights and non-governmental organizations have called for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics days before the Games are due to start.

“The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will open amid atrocity crimes and other grave human rights violations by the Chinese government,” they said in a joint statement on Friday.

The group called on governments to join a diplomatic boycott and for athletes and sponsors not to legitimize the Chinese government’s rights violations.

“It’s not possible for the Olympic Games to be a ‘force for good,’ as the International Olympic Committee claims, while the host government is committing grave crimes in violation of international law,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

The groups pointed to the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities and the persecution of rights activists, feminists, lawyers and journalists by China under President Xi Jinping.

“The government has eviscerated a once-vibrant civil society in Hong Kong, expanded tech-enabled surveillance to significantly curtail the rights to expression, association, and peaceful assembly, and allowed the use of forced labor, in violation of international law,” the group added.

Beijing has come under increasing criticism internationally for alleged abuses against Uighurs and its actions in Hong Kong.

Several countries, including the United States, Britain and Australia, have already announced diplomatic boycotts of the Games.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among those due to attend the opening ceremony on Feb. 4.

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