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World News

Christian charity and 240 other organisations call for Winter Olympics boycott over human rights abuses

by Sophie Drew

More than 240 organisations have signed a petition calling for the UK Government to act against China's human rights record ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Signatories, including Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), are calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Games, and are pleading with athletes and sponsors to carefully consider whether their participation will be legitimising “atrocity crimes and grave human rights violations by the Chinese government.”

There has been significant discussion surrounding the treatment of religious people in China, including Uyghur Muslims and Christians. 

The letter also calls for corporate sponsors to disclose, clearly, why they have chosen to support the Games, and asks them to urge spectators to educate themselves on the country’s history of human rights abuses. 

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW welcomes calls for action on human rights ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. 

“These Games are taking place during a period of intense repression of fundamental human rights in the Uyghur Region, Tibet, Hong Kong, and even the very city where the Games will take place.

“Across China, human rights lawyers have been disbarred, banned from leaving the country, detained and tortured, and Christians and other religious communities are facing unprecedented restrictions on their online religious activities even as their physical meeting spaces are shut down. 

“This is not a moment for celebration but a time for outrage and action in the face of these violations. 

“We join calls for governments, corporate sponsors and spectators to not only ensure they are not complicit in these abuses and the propaganda used to cover them up, but to take robust action to stand with human rights defenders, victims and survivors.”

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