January 7, 2022

With the Beijing Winter Olympics less than one month away, activists have seized the moment to spotlight China’s human rights violations and corporate complicity in said violations. On Tuesday, Tibetan and Uyghur activists from several human rights organizations held protests in dozens of cities around the world as part of a Global Day of Action to demand an Olympic boycott. In the run-up to the Olympic opening ceremony, scheduled for February 4, the Chinese government and its critics seem likely to continue competing for control of the narrative, as global condemnation persists

Following protests outside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in December, activists continued to pressure the International Olympic Committee this week. Tibetan activists protested outside the Olympic museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, and rights groups criticized the IOC for failing to address the risk that official Olympic sportswear may have been produced by Uyghur forced labor, as Stu Woo reported for The Wall Street Journal:

The group, the Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region, said Tuesday that the Swiss-based IOC hasn’t offered credible evidence that Olympic-branded apparel was made without forced labor from China’s cotton-farming Xinjiang region. The group has been a leading voice in a global push to raise awareness of allegations of human-rights abuses in the region.

The group said its concerns center around Anta Sports Products Ltd., a Chinese sportswear giant that is the official supplier of IOC uniforms and other apparel for the Beijing Games. Anta last year publicly said it would keep using cotton from Xinjiang, where human-rights groups and governments including the U.S. allege that Chinese authorities are employing forced labor among the region’s mostly Muslim minorities, including in cotton harvesting. [Source]

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