The Chinese government is using the Beijing Olympics to improve its global image and hide its human rights abuses. Right now, people are imprisoned, disappeared or otherwise detained in China for exercising their right to free expression. As the world watches the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we cannot forget them. Take action now and demand their rights are respected.
In February and March 2022, the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games take place in and around Beijing, China. China is using the Olympics to try to improve its global image, capitalizing on the glamour, prestige and public interest of sport to avert scrutiny of its deplorable human rights record. This amounts to sportswashing.
Among the many human rights violations committed by the Chinese authorities, their systematic violations of the right to freedom of expression demand specific attention at the 2022 Olympics. It is highly problematic that the Chinese government, while hosting a mega sports event that claims to celebrate international exchange and mutual understanding, is implementing an immense system of massive censorship and crushing control over what people can say and see.
These Winter Olympics, we invite the world to celebrate and speak out for five individuals who have been imprisoned, otherwise detained or disappeared for exercising their human right to freedom of expression in China. Zhang Zhan, Ilham Tohti, Li Qiaochu, Gao Zhisheng and Rinchen Tsultrim all belong to communities that have been particularly harshly targeted in the Chinese government’s continuing assault on freedom of expression and related human rights.