Let the Athletes Dissent Against China

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January 14, 2022 | Law & Liberty | By Henryk Szadziewski, Will Cecil & Salvatore Saluga

As sportspeople, we have a power we don’t even know. If we get together and talk, things change. If we stand up, people stand up with us.” Demba Ba, a recently retired Senegalese international footballer, spoke these words to journalists in August 2020. Ba’s voice joined that of other sports personalities critical of China’s treatment of the Uyghur people.

There was a time when the word “Uyghur” would elicit a blank response. Now, the Uyghurs need a little less introduction. The Uyghur crisis revealed the conflicting positions within sports towards political statements from athletes. As the world uncovers more about the situation in the Uyghur homeland, more sportspersons are expressing outrage. These individuals are not only using their fundamental human right to free speech, but also their reach to large numbers of people who follow sports. There was a time when the organizational apparatus of virtually every sport could control the messaging of its prized stars; however, social media has changed everything. Athletes are using platforms shared by millions of people to make clear their positions on global politics and social justice issues.

Read the full op-ed here: https://lawliberty.org/let-the-athletes-dissent-against-china/