Funeral held for Olympic Values in Lausanne

Tibetan activists Chemi Lhamo and Golog Jigme, shortly after holding their press conference at the IOC
Tibetan activists Chemi Lhamo and Golog Jigme, shortly after holding their press conference at the IOC
26th November 2021

On Friday 26 November, Free Tibet joined Tibetan activists outside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, to hold a mock funeral for the organisation and the values upon which it is built.

In an act of condemnation for the IOC's failure to uphold the Olympic values of 'excellence, friendship, and respect', which lie at the core of the Olympic Movement, the protesters carried a black coffin reading "1894-2021" adorned with broken Olympic rings. Placed into the coffin were notices displaying the Olympic values themselves, alongside others that referenced IOC commitments, promises, and quotes. Notable among these was one which read "Peng Shuai's safety and security."

Activists Chemi Lhamo, Golok Jingme, and Free Tibet's John Jones, place the lid on the coffin, with the notices inside.
Notices displaying the Olympic values as well as some of the IOC's broken promises were placed into the coffin

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai disappered earlier this month after she spoke publically of her sexual assault by China's former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli. While she has not given any public statement or appeared publically in any capacity (outside of a tennis event in Beijing), IOC president Thomas Bach claims to have spoken to her in a private video call, where she is descibed as "safe and well." The footage of this call has not been released publically, and the IOC has been condemned by human rights activsts and sports organisations alike for inadequate protection of athletes, with Human Rights Watch accusing the IOC of complicity with China's state propaganda apparatus.

Peng Shuai is one of many who have faced political reprisals for speaking publically on matters which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) find embarassing, or which are seen to cause trouble. The threat of being 'disappeared' for sharing opinions is one which Tibetans face every day, such as in 2016 when language advocate Tashi Wangchuk was abducted by state authorities for giving an interview to the New York Times.


Activists gather outside the IOC offices in Lausanne, holding up Tibetan flags and banners reading "#NoBeijing2022"
The action brought together activists from around the world, including those from Free Tibet.

Speaking outside the IOC offices, Tibetan-Canadian activist Chemi Lhamo condemned the organisation for its complicity in the CCP's crimes against humanity. "The IOC has betrayed all of us," she said, "The Tibetans, the Uyghurs, the Hong Kongers, the Southern Mongolians, even their own Chinese citizens and our athletes."

Tibetan activist and filmmaker Golog Jigme gave his speeches in his Tibetan mother tongue, empowering a language which is increasingly being undermined by the Chinese state. Golog Jigme has previously played a pivotol role in informing the public of the oppression faced by Tibetans prior to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, with his documentary Leaving Fear Behind.

The action was covered by international news media, with activsts giving interviews and hosting a press conference. It is hoped that this coverage will provide more visibiltiy for the crimes of the CCP, and the oppression faced by those living under Chinese rule, while also putting increased pressure on governments and Olympic associations to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Free Tibet, in solidarity with groups from across CCP-occupied territories, is calling on governments and sports bodies to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Sign our petition to the British Olympic Association now, and add your voice to the growing number who are saying NO to Beijing 2022.