Call to Athletes: Don’t Support Genocide Games

Dear Athletes,

We know athletes are people of conscience, full of strong and positive ideals, and desires for freedom and human rights. And because of this we – a Tibetan, Uyghur, and Hongkonger – are calling on you to not support the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics – The Genocide Games.

Mass imprisonment and surveillance, torture, children forcibly separated from their parents, sexual abuse and systematic rape, LGBT repression, enforced disappearances, forced labor, fake democracy, patriotic education – these are all horrific realities that our people suffer on a daily basis at the hands of the Chinese brutal regime.

So we need your help.

In December 2021, the hosts of the Beijing 2022 Games – the Chinese government – were found to be carrying out genocide and crimes against humanity in a committed, widespread attack against our people. Crimes that are crushing Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hongkongers.

Millions of Uyghurs are locked away in concentration camps suffering torture, rape, forced sterilization, and even death.

Tibetan children, as young as four-years-old, are being removed from their parents and sent into colonial boarding schools, forced into political reeducation classes designed to strip them of their Tibetan identity.

And in Hong Kong, freedom and democratic rights have been turned to dust as people young and old are imprisoned for simply pressing to uphold freedoms.

We, and our families, have had to leave our homeland, not by choice, but because there were no alternatives.

We know it is an extremely difficult ask for Olympic athletes who have dedicated so much time and energy to becoming champions in their sport.

But it is not an exaggeration to say that life under Chinese government rule is literally death for our people.

Beijing 2022 is not the opportunity you were promised. Thomas Bach and the International Olympic Committee have failed you by putting you in a situation where you have to choose between human rights or competing against the backdrop of a genocide.

But the Beijing 2022 Olympics is still an opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity for athletes to make history, change the world and stand up for something bigger: humanity.

And though we know it is a difficult task, we know it is the right ask.

We appeal to you to use your position, to stand on the rights side of history, and say no to the Genocide Games. Your support will bring so much hope to us, our family members, and our communities. It will set a precedent for other athletes to speak up.

Surely human life is worth more than medals? We urge you to choose the right side and stand against genocide.

Zumretay Arkin is a Uyghur activist and program and advocacy manager for the World Uyghur Congress.

Chemi Lhamo is a Tibetan activist and Steering Committee member of the International Tibet Network

Frances Hui is a Hong Kong activist and Founding Director of We The Hongkongers

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