Olympic torch heads to Beijing amid protests

The Olympic torch lighting ceremony, held on Monday in Ancient Olympia, Greece, was disrupted by three people protesting China’s treatment of Uyghurs and Tibetans.

  • press conferenceorganized by a separate group of activists in Athens this morning denounced China’s human rights violations as the Olympic torch heads to Beijing today.

Why it matters: Even with tight COVID-19 restrictions and no global torch relay, activists who oppose the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 are still finding ways to make their voices heard.

Details: The torch-lighting ceremony had a small audience due to COVID restrictions, though top figures such as Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach attended.

  • The torch’s direct journey by plane from Greece to Beijing this year could hardly be more different from the globe-trotting torch relay of 2008, which lasted 129 days and traversed 20 countries including China.

What they’re saying: The press conference organizers represent a united front of groups that have been targeted by Beijing’s repressive policies, including Uyghurs, Hong Kongers and Tibetans.

  • «For over 2 years, we have urged the IOC, broadcasters, athletes, governments, sponsors to boycott the Genocide Games, but it is now up to the international community to take a stand in the face of an ongoing genocide,» Zumretay Arkin of the World Uyghur Congress told Axios in a statement.
  • «With less than 4 months to the Beijing Olympics, the world must come together to condemn China for the ongoing Uyghur genocide in East Turkistan and the severe human rights violations in Tibet, Hong Kong, Southern Mongolia, and China,» Hong Kong political activist Frances Hui told Axios in a statement.

Go deeper: New geopolitical fears surround 2022 Beijing Olympics

-Mapping repression in Xinjiang

Mapping repression in Xinjiang

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government’s genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

  • «The Architecture of Repression: Unpacking Xinjiang’s Governance,» releasedtoday by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), maps out 170 government bureaus in Xinjiang, identifies 440 top local officials, and reveals a return to mass political campaigns

Details: The report is based on thousands of pages of Chinese government documents, as well as new databases of government offices and party officials compiled by ASPI, now made available for other researchers to use.

  • ASPI researchers found party officials expect most government offices in Xinjiang to participate in repression in one form another — even the Forestry Bureau, which for a time managed accounts for some mass internment camps.
  • They also found an overwhelming majority of local party secretaries — the most powerful position in each county — is from the majority Han Chinese ethnicity, even though Xinjiang is supposed to be self-governed by Uyghurs.
  • The report also uncovers new evidence of mass campaigns in Xinjiang, once common during the Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong, that involve show trials, public confessions, lengthy propaganda study sessions, and loyalty pledges.

What they’re saying: «Through long and complicated supply chains, this is the first time liberal democracies have found themselves consuming the outputs of China’s mass political campaigns, such as products made with forced labour,» report co-author Vicky Xiuzhong Xu said in a statement.

Of note: The Chinese Embassy in D.C. did not respond to a request for comment.

Πηγή: axios.com

Info photo

Security officers stop protesters holding a banner and a Tibetan flag at the flame lighting ceremony for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Oct. 18. Image credit: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images.

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