Thu, 01 Jun 2023

New York [US], January 28 (ANI): Beijing's recent threat of punishment over free speech to the athletes participating in Winter Olympics violates fundamental human rights, said Human Rights Watch following Beijing officials remarks that any behaviour or speech that is especially against the Chinese laws and regulations are subject to certain punishment.

"Beijing committee's thuggish threat to thousands of Olympic athletes violates fundamental human rights. It is facilitated by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Rule 50.2, which allows for athletes to "express their views" in a limited way and so long as they vaguely "respect the applicable laws" and "Olympic values" and don't protest on the podium," according to Human Rights Watch.

The International Olympic Committee said that these games "celebrate humanity" but Beijing's warnings before the athletes arrive in the country for games point to the country's intent on celebrating inhumanity by denying them their basic rights.

Deputy director-general of the Beijing Organizing Committee Yang Shu on January 18 had warned all athletes against speaking out at the Olympics: "Any behaviour or speech that is against the Olympic spirit - especially against the Chinese laws and regulations - is also subject to certain punishment."On Monday, Human Rights Watch said that it launched a video series with Chinese-Australian artist Badiucao to shed light on the Winter Olympics. The series focuses on the Chinese government's demand that global athletes shut up about human rights abuses in China and similar topics.

Further, HRW stated that Beijing's Olympics are not business as usual as these games take place against a backdrop of Chinese government crimes against humanity targeting ethnic Uyghurs, repression in Hong Kong and Tibet, and risks to athletes unprecedented in the modern Olympic era.

Also, China remains the worst jailer of journalists in the world for the third straight year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

These games in Beijing are a centrepiece of Chinese President Xi Jinping's effort to Beijing China's image on the world stage, said the HRW emphasising that these are aimed to "sportswash" the Chinese government's abysmal human rights record.

The letter warning by Yang points that athletes participating in the Beijing Winter Olympics will be surveilled, and their rights to free speech and protest will be severely curtailed, according to HRW. (ANI)

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