London, 8th February 2022
On the eve of the opening of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games, UK-based Tibetan, Uyghur, Hong Kong and Tigrayan communities hosted an Alternative Olympic Opening Ceremony in London (3rd February) to challenge Beijing’s #GenocideGames.
The Joint Statement from the coalition of rights groups and China’s persecuted communities in the UK, said, “Our demands for change and accountability are not just for Beijing. No, this is about every institution and individual that has put power and profit over human life – sponsors, broadcasters, and, of course, the IOC and Thomas Bach. To them, this is a game of money and influence and we should all be repulsed. We each have a responsibility to act when our fellow humans are enduring repression, torture and genocide. But these principles have been discarded, as soon as China was awarded the Winter Olympics. Those responsible wish we would stop holding them accountable. But for the past year we have refused them that luxury. And now, none can say that these Olympics have been pulled off with propagandist ease. It is thanks to our efforts that the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will be memorialised in history as the Genocide Games.”
Supportive parliamentarians from across British political parties, including Lord David Alton, Nusrat Ghani MP and Afzal Khan MP addressed the rally whilst Barbara Keely MP joined the crowd in show of their solidarity and support. Condemning the Chinese government for its continued gross violation of human rights and Uyghur genocide, the parliamentarians were unanimous in declaring the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as the “Genocide Games”.
Lord Alton explained about his visits to Tibet and Hong Kong. He exposed the Chinese government’s violation of human rights in Tibet and Hong Kong. He sternly criticised Uyghur genocide committed by the Chinese State and, acknowledged the wonderful work by the independent Uyghur Tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC. Lord Alton was addressing a crowd of several hundred people from the persecuted communities in the heart of London’s Piccadilly Circus. He said, “We won’t be silenced by anyone.” After his rally speech, Lord Alton tweeted: “Don’t let the moment pass. The true #Olympic spirit is about solidarity not indifference to tyranny #BoycottBeijing2022”
Nearly a year ago in March 2021, the Chinese government sanctioned a number of British parliamentarians who stood up for human rights, truth and freedom. They included Lord Alton and Nusrat Ghani MP, who have been strong critics of the Chinese government’s human rights abuses.
Nusrat Ghani MP, a former minister in the Conservative government, gave a very powerful speech to the crowd’s roar. She declared, “Tomorrow, we have the Beijing Winter Olympics. China will do its very best to paint the prettiest picture on what’s happening in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. But, we know the truth. We want the world to see the crackdown against Hong Kong. We want the world to see the persecution against the Tibetans. And, we want to see the ongoing wheel-time genocide of the Uyghur people. No to the Genocide Olympics.”
Ms Ghani further added, “The Chinese Communist Party is engaging in a most expensive PR campaign. But, let me tell you this. We will not let China off the hook. We will not forget Hong Kong. We will not forget Tibet. And, we will never forget, or forgive, the ongoing genocide against the Uyghur people.”
Echoing the crowd’s chanting, Afzal Khan, Labour MP from Manchester, said that the message to China is clear and simple: “Free Tibet, Free East Turkistan and Free Hong Kong.” Lambasting the Beijing 2022 Olympics Games in the midst of genocide against the Uyghur Muslims, Mr Khan questioned, “How can you have those [games] when there is genocide taking place?” The Labour MP said that there is cross-party support for China’s persecuted communities and they would continue to press on the British government to take a tougher stance on China. After his address, Mr Khan tweeted, “Ahead of the #BeijingWinterOlympics, I joined colleagues & friends to remember those suffering under CCP rule”.
China’s persecuted communities condemned the decision by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to proceed with the event despite the crimes against humanity being carried out by the Chinese Communist regime.
Tsering Passang, former Chair of Tibetan Community in Britain, who is also the Founder and Chairman of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, addressed the rally along with the parliamentarians and representatives from other China’s persecuted communities. Passang said, “The 2022 Olympics Games should not be held in today’s repressive China, where gross violation of human rights is taking place, on a daily basis. And certainly, the Olympics should not have been awarded to a regime which persecutes its own people, including the peaceful Falun Gong practitioners as well as those in China’s occupied Tibet and East Turkestan.”
Criticising the IOC’s decision to award the Olympics once again to the CCP regime in 2022, Passang questioned, “Why are the IOC and its Chiefs pandering to the Chinese regime? The question does raise whether the IOC and its Chiefs are getting in complicity with the Communist Chinese regime, in committing crimes against humanity including Uyghur genocide”. The Tibetan activist declared, “For the persecuted communities, whether we are Tibetans or Uyghurs, we recognise the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as the GenocidesGames of the 21st century.”
The Alternative Opening Ceremony in London was a part of the Global Day of Action in which groups from at least 20 countries voice their opposition to the Winter Games and urge the wider public to show solidarity with those living under CCP rule or affected by its foreign policy.
The remainder of the event saw colourful but determined activities including musical performances and poetry readings, a mock medal ceremony for Chinese President Xi Jinping and the lighting of an activist-made own Olympic torch.
Earlier a press release was issued by the organisers of the Alternative Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Tenzin Wangdu, Chair of Tibetan Community in Britain: “The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics were preceded by brutal crackdowns in Tibet and the transformation of Tibet into a police state. In the past 14 years, things have only deteriorated. The IOC’s decision to award Beijing a second Olympics is a sick insult and an unforgivable error of judgement. It shows that the IOC has no concern for justice or human rights. We renew our call for everyone to boycott these bloodstained Winter Games. We call on everyone to turn their attention away from the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda event and to join us in our struggle for freedom.”
The Hongkonger community (Hong Kong Aid, Power to Hongkongers, Hong Kong Liberty, Hongkongers in Britain): “We Hongkongers are boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics because we do not believe the CCP, who has had a long history abusing human rights, conducting genocide, and destroying democracy, deserves to be “awarded” as an Olympic Games host. We further condemn the IOC for turning a blind eye to their horrible acts, betraying Olympism’s value to respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. We urge the international community to stand in solidarity with us. To boycott them by not watching it, by calling out CCP’s hypocrisy, and by spreading awareness about what is going on in Tibet, East Turkestan, Tigray and Hong Kong.”
The alternative opening ceremony is the culmination of a long-running campaign against the decision by the IOC to award Beijing a second Olympic event, despite a dramatic surge in human rights abuses by the Chinese government since the 2008 Summer Olympics. This includes:
- The detention of at least two million Uyghur, Kazakh, and Uzbek Muslims in “re-education camps”, where they are forced to endure systematic torture, rape, and political re-education.
- The finding that the CCP has separated at least 80% of Tibetan children from their parents and into colonial boarding schools, where they face intense political indoctrination.
- Draconian security measures in Hong Kong, including the National Security Bill, which have effectively criminalised protest and removed what civil liberties existed in Hong Kong.
- Attacks on the culture and language of Southern Mongolians.
- The scale of the human rights abuses perpetrated by Beijing, including the recognition by numerous governments that it is committing genocide against the Uyghur people, has led to the 2022 Winter Games being widely known as the “Genocide Games”.
Rahima Mahmut, UK Director of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and Executive Director of Stop Uyghur Genocide (SUG): “We are holding an alternative opening ceremony to remind the world – our leaders, corporations, the International Olympics Committee, and all of those watching – that a genocide is being perpetrated beyond the bounds of the Olympic Park. Whilst fireworks are set off for opening celebrations, millions of my fellow Uyghurs are tortured and violated in concentration camps. While the world watches media coverage of ski slaloms, my Uyghur brothers and sisters are subject to constant surveillance. Whilst athletes are presented with medals, Uyghur mothers mourn for children that have been stolen from them and indoctrinated in state-orphanages. This will prove to be an indelible moment of shame for everyone that remained complicit, particularly the IOC and Thomas Bach.”
The alternative opening ceremony and wider day of action are also being organised and attended by people affected by the CCP’s increasingly confrontational foreign policy. This includes the Tigray Youth Network, who oppose the Ethiopian government’s ongoing siege of Tigray, which has killed around 150 thousand people, and displaced a further 2.2. million Tigrayans, policies that have received material and diplomatic support from the Chinese government.
Rowena from the Tigray Youth Network: “Tigray Youth Network is boycotting the Winter Games because of China’s involvement in arming the Federal government of Ethiopia to continue the genocidal war on Tigray; China voted against the UN Human Rights Council motion to set up a three-member investigate team citing the war is an internal matter and objected a statement by the U.N. Security Council calling for an end to the violence in Tigray and to spotlight the millions in need of humanitarian assistance.”