The protesters began by dropping a 20-metre banner from Westminster Bridge calling on the MPs viewing from the Palace of Westminster to support a boycott of Beijing 2022. At 5pm today the protesters will gather outside Downing Street where they will call on the Prime Minister to show leadership and encourage the British Olympic Association not to send a team to Beijing.
These actions are being coordinated with other Tibet, Uyghur and Hong Kong groups around the world as part of a Global Day of Action against Beijing 2022. 23 June is recognised as Olympic Day.
The Chinese government uses human rights abuses to get its way and to suppress protest. When Tibetans protested during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics they were brutally put down. Since then more than 1 million Tibetans have been entered into coercive labour and relocation programmes designed to disrupt traditional ways of life. Over a million Uyghur people have been detained in concentration camps and up to 500,000 are being forced to pick cotton.
A boycott is already supported by politicians from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, as well as the Czech senate, and US politicians Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney.
Sam Walton, Chief Executive of Free Tibet, said:
“The International Olympic Committee should never have awarded China the Winter Olympics but its actions over the years prove it has no interest in the Olympic spirit and just wants to enrich its members. So it is left to world leaders to take a stand and deny China a global stage to whitewash their abuses.”
“Every Olympics should be a celebration of global unity and opportunity but the IOC have put athletes in an impossible position where they have to give up on their dreams or be used as propaganda. Boris Johnson must make this difficult decision for them and support a boycott.”
Basil Wong, Chief Spokesperson of Power to Hongkongers, said:
“In the UK, and around the world, we are seeing a growing movement calling for a boycott of Beijing 2022. Governments and the public are realising that where there is genocide, sport cannot be kept separate from politics. Now we must take action: if these games are not moved then they must be boycotted by every government that claims to believe in human rights. Failing to boycott would legitimise the CCP’s bloody abuses and undermine recent international efforts to hold the Chinese government to account for its extensive crimes.”
Pema Yoko, Chair of Tibetan Community in Britain, said:
“As a Tibetan, I can not believe we are here again after what happened in 2008! Allowing Beijing to host another Games against a backdrop of horrific repression in Tibet, Hong Kong, Southern Mongolia, and a genocide in East Turkistan shows how little integrity the International Olympic Committee has left. And it now falls to the British government to say no, enough is enough and to boycott Beijing 2022. Attending the Beijing Olympics will simply embolden China. Governments, national Olympic associations and sponsors must act now before we too lose our values and norms to China’s bullying.”
Rahima Mahmut, UK Project Coordinator of World Uyghur Congress, said:
“This Olympic Day is a mark of shame for the International Olympic Committee, which is insisting that the Winter Games take place in Beijing despite the fact that right now, from that very city, the Chinese government is orchestrating police crackdowns, torture, forced labour and genocide. The IOC has proven it has no morals, so now it falls to governments and national Olympic associations to do the right thing. If there is to be any justice, they must boycott Beijing 2022.”
Free Tibet representatives are available for interview.
Press contact – Will Hoyles, Media Officer, [email protected], 07772512519
About Free Tibet:
Free Tibet is a London-based organisation established to support the Tibetan people’s struggle for freedom. Our vision is a free Tibet in which Tibetans are able to determine their own future and the human rights of all are respected. www.freetibet.org