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Boycott 2022 Beijing Olympics in protest of Uighur Muslim genocide

Graphic by Jai Khurana

The next Olympics are set to start on February 4, 2022, hosted by the Chinese government in Beijing. While the Olympics are an opportunity for athletes worldwide to show their prowess and lifetime work, the United States, it’s allies, and any sovereign nation with good intentions should decline to participate in the 2022 olympics. 

The Chinese government and it’s crimes have become a competitior to that of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, yet the West and its allies have yet to act on empty promises to hold the government of China accountable. China has been committing an ethnic genocide on Uighur Muslims, suppressing attempts by Chinese citizens to bring attention to it, and worsening race relations in the West. To boycott the 2022 Olympic games would be a just, firm, and non-violent way of stating where the world stands on the issue.

Political boycotts of the Olympics have been a staple of almost every single country in the world. Only Australia, Greece, the United Kingdom, and France have had athletes compete at every Olympic games since its inception in 1896. Any attempts to relocate or boycott games held in corrupt countries were ultimately unsuccessful –to allow failed boycotts and attempts of relocation again in 2022 would be an egregious example of ignorance and inaction on behalf of the world. 

Similar to Nazi Germany, the Chinese government is currently conducting an ethnic genocide. Various human rights groups since 2017 have reported over a million Uighur Muslims, an ethnic group where a majority are Turkic-speaking and Muslim, are being sent to “re-education camps” in the Xianjiang autonomous region. Some reports say 1.5 million Uighur Muslims. Others point to double that at 3 million. Other descriptions, which still remain underreported by most media, Western or otherwise, dictate that Uighur Muslims aren’t the only demographic of people in such concentration camps: Kasakhs, Kyrgyz, Christians, and various other ethnic and religious groups have been reported to have been detained. Forced labor, forced sterilizations, brainwashing, and mental and sexual torture have been reported. Human rights groups, United Nations officials, European Union officials, and various world and foreign affairs leaders have urged the Chinese Government to stop, and the United States has classified the so called “re-education camps” as a genocide. However, full recognition of the genocide has not been completely fulfilled through just condemnation. 

Even in the knowledge that credible evidence is against them, the Chinese government has denied all claims. Some allies of China have acknowledged the existence of such camps, and others have gone so far as to support them. Why should these countries’ support be viewed as any different from the support expressed for Nazi Germany from Fascist Italy or Imperial Japan? Or the Soviet Union’s support of North Korea during the Korean war? Those of us that don’t recollect history will repeat it, and what we are seeing today is an unfortunate example of that happening. Should the West align ourselves with such countries through inaction, then we’ve become allies of the anti-Uighur ideology. Very little action has been taken by those that can enforce change – merely deafeningly loud silence. Four years have passed since the first reports of “re-education camps”, and no person, organization, or state government has done anything of substance to stop it.  The political and economical implications of boycotting the Olympics would be immense, and the already tense Chinese-American relations would be stretched thinner, but the value of one to three million lives is greater than that of any trade war. The making of history looks more like a construction of the present when viewed through the now, rather than the events that will be viewed from a history textbook in the future, and we tend to forget that.

While many would argue that to deny participation in the Olympics would be spitting in the face of potential Olympians, they are absolutely correct. But to hold the potential achievements of around 3,000 athletes over the wellbeing, health, and lives of anywhere from one to three million people is an absurd premise that the United States has yet to reject. Not only would a decline of participation be a non-violent form of protest, it is also one that encourages other nations, specifically U.S. allies that rely on this country, to follow. The United States and many other countries, along with the United Nations, have openly condemned the Chinese government, but have done very little to act upon these words. Not supporting the Olympic games this summer would be the way for people to practice what they preach.

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Zach Kwon, Features Editor
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