Tibet campaigners gear up for 2022 selection
Beijing is one of only two cities in the running for the 2022 Winter Olympics. If it were to win the Games, it would be the first city ever to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Right now, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which chooses the winner, is visiting the other candidate city, Almaty in Kazakhstan. In March it will go to Beijing and the final decision will be announced in July.
The 2008 Olympics in Beijing saw worldwide attention on Tibet, with daring stunts by Tibet campaigners and enormous controversy resulting from China’s brutal suppression of the Tibetan uprising in March 2008. The IOC had claimed that the Olympics would improve human rights in China, and China itself hinted that may be the case. In reality, the period before and since the Games has seen increased oppression in Tibet and extended curbs on freedom within China.
The Olympics and human rights
Free Tibet is working closely with the International Tibet Network to put pressure on the IOC not to make the same mistake twice. Kazakhstan also has a poor human rights record and in a media statement issued today to coincide with the visit to Almaty, Free Tibet said: “The IOC’s apparently blind faith that the award of the Games would improve human rights in China was proved empty in 2008. Events in Tibet and China since have shown that the legacy of the Games hasn’t been increased sensitivity to human rights in Beijing but increased self-confidence that abusing human rights is no problem on the world stage. “Beijing has proved itself unworthy of the Games. Almaty needs to prove itself worthy – if it can.” In the same statement, Tenzin Jigdal of the International Tibet Network said: “The IOC side-lined Tibet last time – it needs to pay attention this time. The Beijing Olympics was the Tibet Olympics. If the IOC makes the same mistake again, it can be in no doubt that 2022 will be Tibet’s Olympics again.”
Tibet organisations will be rolling out a campaign to put pressure on the IOC in coming weeks and months and we will provide more information about how supporters can get involved soon.