Human rights and faith groups have requested in an open letter to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee that the 2022 Winter Olympics be moved out of China because of its genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang and severe oppression of its other citizens. Pictured: Flag-bearers at a Para Ice Hockey test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at National Indoor Stadium on April 10, 2021 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Human rights and faith groups -- such as the Committee on the Present Danger: China's Captive Nations Coalition, Women's Rights without Frontiers, and Save the Persecuted Christians -- have requested in an open letter to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) that the 2022 Winter Olympics be moved out of China because of its genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang and severe oppression of its other citizens. The letter's 108 signatories remind the USOPC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of their charter commitments and international obligations pertaining to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment for Genocide. The letter entitled "Stop the 2022 Genocide Games" said, in part:
"Today, we are confronting another totalitarian regime actively engaging in, among crimes against humanity, another genocide. Yet, as of now, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and its international counterpart are preparing to enable the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to receive and exploit a propaganda bonanza that will make what the Nazis enjoyed pale by comparison. That must not happen.
"As you know, the United States government has determined that the CCP is genocidally oppressing millions of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the region of western China they call East Turkistan and the Chinese Communists have branded Xinjiang. At least one million of these victims are incarcerated in scores of concentration camps, some replete with crematoria, where they are being brainwashed, raped, forcibly aborted and sterilized, tortured, organ-harvested and forced to perform slave labor. Is that acceptable to the U.S. Olympic Committee? Would your organization want to be associated with, let alone be seen as condoning, such barbaric behavior?
"The U.S. government has prohibited the importation of cotton produced in East Turkistan lest American consumers unwittingly support the CCP's slave labor practices. Western companies in China that are complying with this requirement – including some that are sponsors of the 2022 Beijing Olympics – are being punished by the Chinese government for such compliance. Does the U.S. Olympic Committee really want to side with China's slave-masters?
"That would especially be the case since the PRC has given no indication that it will abandon the genocidal oppression of Uyghurs and others, let alone dismantle the massive infrastructure used for this purpose. Rather, the CCP will no doubt exploit the 'Genocide Games' as proof that the world is indifferent to, if not actually implicitly endorsing, its crimes against humanity.
"If the Chinese Communist Party's systematic oppression of those enslaved in its Captive Nations – including not only Uyghurs, but Tibetans, Southern Mongolians and the people of Hong Kong – were not bad enough, countless millions of Chinese citizens are also victims of the CCP. China employs the world's most comprehensive state surveillance and a repressive 'social credit system' to ensure their submission. Were a Beijing Olympics to occur next year, athletes, international staff and visitors would all be subjected to these invasive and coercive totalitarian techniques, as well.
"In addition, Olympians would effectively be legitimating the CCP's assiduous persecution of millions of religious believers. Millions of Chinese Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and Muslims are among those who have been subjected to CCP imprisonment, torture and executions in the last several decades.
"Then there is the matter of the Chinese Communist Party's involuntary extraction of vital organs. Eminent international human rights experts have found that forced organ harvesting is taking place in the PRC on an industrial scale. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of China's own people, ethnic and religious minorities and prisoners of conscience have been murdered to profit the CCP. Is the U.S. Olympic Committee willing to associate with the perpetrators of these crimes?"
Several countries, including the US, Canada and the Netherlands, have accused China of committing genocide -- defined by international convention as the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group".
As well as interning Uyghurs in camps, there is evidence that China has been suppressing the Uyghur population through mass sterilizations and using Uyghurs as forced labor. In 2020, there were more than 380 "re-education camps" in Xinjiang -- an increase of 40% on previous estimates -- according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
A UN report from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights noted, as early as 2018, that the Chinese state was holding ethnic Uyghurs and other minorities in the so-called "counter-extremism centres" and "re-education camps" in Xinjiang:
"Gay Mcdougall, Committee Co-Rapporteur for China, raised concern about the numerous and credible reports that in the name of combatting 'religious extremism' and maintaining 'social stability', the State party had turned the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region into something that resembled a massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy, a "no rights zone", while members of the Xinjiang Uyghur minority, along with others who were identified as Muslim, were being treated as enemies of the State based on nothing more than their ethno-religious identity. The Co-Rapporteur noted reports of mass detention of ethnic Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities, and estimates that upwards of a million people were being held in so-called counter-extremism centres and another two million had been forced into so-called 're-education camps' for political and cultural indoctrination. All the detainees had their due process rights violated, while most had never been charged with an offense, tried in a court of law, or afforded an opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention."
The first independent expert application of the 1948 UN Genocide Convention to the ongoing treatment of the Uyghurs in China, undertaken by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, in cooperation with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, was issued on March 8. The report stated:
"Dozens of experts in international law, genocide studies, Chinese ethnic policies, and the region were invited to examine pro bono all available evidence that could be collected and verified from public Chinese State communications, leaked Chinese State communications, eyewitness testimony, and open-source research methods such as public satellite-image analysis, analysis of information circulating on the Chinese internet, and any other available source."
According to the report's executive summary:
"This report concludes that the People's Republic of China (China) bears State responsibility for committing genocide against the Uyghurs in breach of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) based on an extensive review of the available evidence and application of international law to the evidence of the facts on the ground.
"Intent to Destroy. Under Article II of the Genocide Convention, the commission of genocide requires the 'intent to destroy, in whole or in part, [a protected group], as such.' The 'intent to destroy' does not require explicit statements. Intent can be inferred from a collection of objective facts that are attributable to the State, including official statements, a general plan, State policy and law, a pattern of conduct, and repeated destructive acts, which have a logical sequence and result — destruction of the group as such, in whole or in substantial part.
"High-level statements of intent and general plan. In 2014, China's Head of State, President Xi Jinping, launched the 'People's War on Terror' in XUAR, making the areas where Uyghurs constitute nearly 90 percent of the population the front line. High-level officials followed up with orders to 'round up everyone who should be rounded up,' 'wipe them out completely ... destroy them root and branch,' and 'break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.' Officials described Uyghurs with dehumanizing terms and repeatedly likened the mass internment of Uyghurs to 'eradicating tumors.'"
The report also exposes comprehensive state policy, pattern of conduct and repeated destructive acts:
"a. Government-Mandated Homestays. Since 2014, the Government of China (Government) has deployed Han cadres to reside in Uyghur homes as monitors, resulting in the rupturing of family bonds. County governments further coerce, incentivize, and actively promote Han-Uyghur marriages.
"b. Mass Internment. In 2017, the XUAR legislature formally legalized the mass internment of Uyghurs under 'De-Extremification' regulations. The top security official and entities dispatched a manual and set of documents across the region with orders to police Uyghurs, 'speed up the construction' and expansion of the mass internment camps, 'increase the discipline and punishment' within the camps and maintain 'strict secrecy' over all information, which is not to 'be disseminated,' nor 'open to the public.' The manual outlines the complex hierarchy of officials, entities, and the centralized digital surveillance system overseeing the entire campaign.
"c. Mass Birth-Prevention Strategy. China has simultaneously pursued a dual systematic strategy of forcibly sterilizing Uyghur women of childbearing age and interning Uyghur men of child-bearing years, preventing the regenerative capacity of the group and evincing an intent to biologically destroy the group as such.
According to Government statistics and directives, including to 'carry out family planning sterilization,' 'lower fertility levels,' and 'leave no blind spots,' China is carrying out a well-documented, State-funded birth-prevention campaign targeting women of childbearing age in Uyghur-concentrated areas with mass forced sterilization, abortions, and IUD placements. China explicitly admits the purpose of these campaigns is to ensure that Uyghur women are 'no longer baby-making machines.'
"d. Forcible Transfer of Uyghur Children to State-run Facilities. Pursuant to new Government policy in 2017, China began building a vast network of massive State-run, highly securitized boarding schools and orphanages to confine Uyghur children, including infants, full time. XUAR counties receive specific quotas from higher authorities to institutionalize such 'orphans,' who often lose both parents to internment or forced labor.
e. Eradication of Uyghur identity, community, and domestic life. Pursuant to Government campaigns, local authorities have eliminated Uyghur education, destroyed Uyghur architecture and household features, and damaged, altered, or completely demolished the majority of mosques and sacred sites in the region, while closing off other sites or converting them into commercial spaces.
f. Selective Targeting of Intellectuals and Community Leaders. The intent to destroy the Uyghurs as a group is further demonstrated by the Government's deliberate targeting of the guardians and transmitters of Uyghur identity for prolonged detention or death, including household heads, intellectuals, and cultural leaders, regardless of Party affiliation or educational status.
The deliberate targeting of Uyghur leaders and sacred sites evinces an intent to destroy the essential elements of Uyghur identity and communal bonds, which define the group as such."
The report notes:
"China's policies and practices targeting Uyghurs in the region must be viewed in their totality, which amounts to an intent to destroy the Uyghurs as a group, in whole or in substantial part, as such.
Acts of Genocide. While commission of any one of the Genocide Convention's enumerated acts with the requisite intent can sustain a finding of genocide, the evidence presented in this report supports a finding of genocide against the Uyghurs in breach of each and every act prohibited in Article II (a) through (e).
"(a) Killing members of the group." There are reports of mass death and deaths of prominent Uyghur leaders selectively sentenced to death by execution or, for elders in particular, by long-term imprisonment.
"(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group." Uyghurs are suffering serious bodily and mental harm from systematic torture and cruel treatment, including rape, sexual abuse, exploitation, and public humiliation, at the hands of camp officials and Han cadres assigned to Uyghur homes under Government-mandated programs. Internment camps contain designated 'interrogation rooms,' where Uyghur detainees are subjected to consistent and brutal torture methods, including beatings with metal prods, electric shocks, and whips. The mass internment and related Government programs are designed to indoctrinate and 'wash clean' brains, driving Uyghurs to commit or attempt suicide from the threat of internment or the daily extreme forms of physical and psychological torture within the camps, including mock executions, public 'self-criticisms,' and solitary confinement.
"(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part." The authorities systematically target Uyghurs of childbearing years, household heads, and community leaders for detention in unliveable conditions, impose birth-prevention measures on Uyghur women, separate Uyghur children from their parents, and transfer Uyghurs on a mass scale into forced hard labor schemes in a manner that parallels the mass internment. In sum, China is deliberately inflicting collective conditions calculated to terminate the survival of the Uyghurs as a group.
"(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group." The systematic birth prevention campaign in Uyghur-concentrated areas is reinforced by the mass internment drive. In the camps, Uyghur women are subjected to forced IUD insertions, abortions, and injections or medication halting their menstrual cycles, while Uyghur men of childbearing age are targeted for internment, depriving the Uyghur population of the ability to reproduce. As a result of these interconnected policies, growth rates in Uyghur-concentrated areas are increasingly approaching zero.
"(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." Where detentions and forced labor schemes are leaving Uyghur children bereft of both parents, they are being sent to State-run orphanages and raised in Chinese-language environments with standard Han child-rearing methods."
The report also explains China's responsibility for genocide under the Genocide Convention:
"China is a highly centralized State in full control of its territory and population, including XUAR, and is a State party to the Genocide Convention. The persons and entities perpetrating the above-indicated acts of genocide are all State agents or organs — acting under the effective control of the State — manifesting an intent to destroy the Uyghurs as a group within the meaning of Article II of the Genocide Convention. This report therefore concludes that China bears State responsibility for an ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs, in breach of the Genocide Convention."
Kuzzat Altay, the President of the Uyghur American Association, and his family are one of the hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs targeted by the Chinese government. Altay, in an interview, told Gatestone about his father, who was taken to a camp in 2018:
"I did not know whether he was alive or dead. After two years of advocacy, I saw my father alive on Chinese State TV, denouncing me from being his son. He asked me to stop all activities against the Chinese government.
"He was released from the camp as a retired, wealthy 70 years old businessman who 'graduated' from a 're-education' camp with a tailor certificate. His leg was broken in the camp. Chinese guards forced him to stand up with a broken leg when his leg was broken. I believe Chinese guards pushed him. That's why he broke his leg.
"He is currently under house arrest. He can go outside for groceries. But I can't communicate with my father. The authorities do not allow it. My brother in the US can call him once a week. I lost contact with more than 100 relatives. It is a crime for them to contact me.
"China holds our family members hostage. If we speak up, they take our family members to concentration camps, or Chinese authorities constantly harass them, forcing them to tell us to stop. Sometimes, the Chinese police facetime Uyghurs abroad next to their family members, ask them to obey, and to stop speaking up.
"Chinese authorities call Uyghurs abroad to collect intelligence, force them to spy, and threaten them with taking family members to the camps. China launches periodic mass attacks using its social media trolls to intimidate and harass Uyghur activists.
"Uyghur refugees are very well treated in non-Muslim, Western countries, but in Muslim countries, including Turkey, Uyghur refugees are in danger. There is credible evidence that they are harassed by local authorities, arbitrarily detained and deported back to China. Many Uyghurs have been arrested in Turkey, although they have committed no crimes. China does not renew their passports, and Turkey does not grant them residence cards; thus, they cannot legally work and their status is in limbo. They fear arrest and deportation to China."
"The Chinese government wants to eradicate Uyghurs," Altay concluded. "After many Western countries have recognized the Uyghur Genocide, China forced local Uyghurs to show a 'happy face' on TikTok for Xinjiang propaganda."
Nevertheless, despite its genocide against Uyghurs and systematic repression against its other citizens, Communist China is set to host the Winter Olympics in 2022.
The letter to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), the International Olympic Committee and other institutions noted:
"For all these reasons, we – the undersigned members of the Committee on the Present Danger: China and leaders of the international human rights community who also stand against the Chinese Communists' ongoing genocide and other crimes – call upon the U.S. Olympic Committee to lead an urgent international effort to relocate the 2022 Winter Games to another venue in this country or elsewhere, providing a 'Freedom Olympics' alternative to the 'Genocide Olympics.' Failing that, you are on notice that we will bend every effort to boycott the Games.
"We remind you that the 2020 Olympic Charter states: 'The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.' Honoring arguably the greatest human rights abuser in the world with the privilege of hosting the Olympics runs directly counter to the Olympic Charter. Holding the Games in Beijing does a tremendous disservice to athletes, who do not want their desire to prove themselves the world's best to be put in the service of the world's worst oppressors.
"Moreover, under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, to which both China and the United States are parties, the official designation of CCP genocide by the U.S. government requires that we 'punish' the offending regime. Specifically, Article 1 of that binding international treaty states: 'The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.'
"We are, therefore, obliged at a minimum not to reward the Chinese Communist Party with hosting perhaps the most prestigious international event in the world. Instead, we should recognize the CCP as the Transnational Criminal Organization it is and treat it accordingly."
The letter also refers to the coronavirus pandemic that originated from the Chinese province of Wuhan, caused more than three million deaths worldwide and crippled much of the world economically:
"Holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing would amount to a vindication of the Chinese Communist Party's efforts to avoid responsibility for the ongoing, murderous coronavirus pandemic that emanated from Wuhan and was then deliberately spread around the world, thanks to the PRC allowing international flights to continue after severely restricting domestic travel. Again, the question occurs: Does the USOC wish to be remembered as standing with the millions of American and other victims of the CCP virus or with those who unleashed it?"
More than three million deaths worldwide have been caused by Communist China for failing to disclose, and even outright lying about, the human-to-human transmissibility of the Wuhan virus. Virtually every country has been victimized by what can only be regarded as Communist China's mass murder. So why should nearly 200 countries reward China with the economic bonanza and implicit legitimacy that hosting the 2022 winter Olympics would confer?
When one thinks of more than three million dead only because of Communist China's deliberate deceit -- in addition to its genocidal attacks on the Uyghurs -- it would seem appropriate to move the Olympics almost anywhere else. All the countries crushed both by deaths caused by Communist China's conscious export of its virus and the economic devastation that followed need to make sure that instead of being enriched and celebrated, Communist China should be held to account -- at the very least by being invoiced for the economic damage it caused and removed from hosting the Olympic games.
Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.