when the International Olympic Committee (ioc) awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing in 2015, some people criticized the decision because of China’s human-rights record.
Just in the previous few weeks, China had rounded up hundreds of civil-society activists across the country.
But the rival candidate for the games was another authoritarian state, Kazakhstan.
Democracies such as Norway had pulled out of the race And few people even imagined that, within two years, China would be building a gulag in Xinjiang to incarcerate more than 1m ethnic Uyghurs because of their religious and cultural beliefs.
Attitudes in the West towards China have hardened a lot since the IOC made its decision.
In January America called the repression in Xinjiang “genocide”. On March 22nd it joined Britain, Canada and the European Union in a simultaneous declaration of sanctions against Chinese officials involved in that region’s atrocities
It was a rare co-ordinated attempt by Western powers to put pressure on China over its human-rights record.
They have been riled, too, by China’s clampdown in Hong Kong and its growing challenge to liberal norms globally
The winter games, which are due to begin on February 4th, will be among the most controversial in Olympic history.
A coalition of 180 rights group on Wednesday called for a boycott of next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics tied to reported human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in China.
The Games are to open in one year, on February 4, 2022, and are set to go forward despite the pandemic.
The coalition is composed of groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians, residents of Hong Kong, and others.
The group has issued an open letter to governments calling for a boycott of the Olympics “to ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government’s appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent.”
Rights groups have previously asked the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee to move the games from China. The IOC has largely ignored the demands and says it’s only a sporting body that does not get involved with politics.