why athletes need to keep mum over human rights at winter olympics
China – After the wide level diplomatic boycott, athletes are being asked not to speak up about human rights at the forthcoming Winter Olympics at Beijing. This was a point of focus at the Human Rights Watch seminar. The world has been systematically boycotting China for its treatment of minority groups in China.
New Zealand, UK, Australia, France, The United States are a few countries that had announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics to be held in February. HRW is advising athletes to focus on their games only, for their own personal safety, a formal statement by the agency has confirmed.
“There’s really not much protection that we believe is going to be afforded to athletes,” Rob Koehler, the director general of the Global Athlete group, said in the seminar. “Silence is complicity and that’s why we have concerns. So, we’re advising athletes not to speak up. We want them to compete and use their voice when they get home.” Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas”.
China has vehemently continued to deny any wrongdoing. Protests worldwide are terming the Winter Olympics as ‘genocide games’ and seeking mass boycott. Even Denmark is said to have recently decided to join European nations in boycotting the winter Olympics. The White House has made it official that it would not send any official or diplomatic representatives to the Winter Games and Paralympics in February, “given the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China’s] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.” Athletes are also being warned to carefully use their smartphones as a recently launched app by China to check the health of athletes might lead to data infringement as well.