Speech by Dr. Yang Jianli at Global Day of Action on “Boycott Beijing 2022”
Lafayette Square, Washington, DC
June 23, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Friends and Colleagues:
We are gathered here today to send a simple, clear, and strong message to the White House and all other rights-respecting governments: The world’s democracies must boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
We have two simple, clear, and strong reasons to do so.
Firstly, the CCP regime has committed and continues to commit crimes against humanity. The U.S. and other democratic countries should not give the CCP regime a new license to act with impunity. Enough is enough.
Over the past few decades, the international community has led the CCP to believe that it can always get away with whatever it does to the people under its repressive rule. For example, as the world watched, the Chinese government committed gross human rights abuses in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But just before the IOC’s decision in 2015 to choose China for the 2022 Winter Olympics, IOC official Mark Adams said that Beijing had given the IOC new “assurances” concerning human rights and that the IOC was confident that the Chinese government would take all necessary measures to ensure that the Olympic Charter would be respected. In other words, it’s 2008 all over again. Actually, much worse.
Since then, the Chinese government has committed countless atrocities: the Uyghur genocide; the crushing of political and civil freedoms in Hong Kong; the growing assault on the culture and religious practices of Tibetans and other ethnic minorities; the rampant torture of prisoners of conscience; mass digital surveillance of the entire population; unremitting attacks on human rights lawyers, rule of law, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion — the list goes on and on.
Here we are again: The U.S. is facing a difficult test. Just like any other test, one either passes or fails.
There is every reason for rights-respecting governments to stay far away from the 2022 Beijing Olympics. They can and should.
Both IOC president Thomas Bach and the Chinese dictator Xi Jinping have loudly proclaimed that the Games should not be “politicized.”
We, as human rights activists, are all too familiar with what is meant by the “politicization” of an event, be it academic, sports, cultural, business or entertainment. By Xi Jinping’s definition, any stance on any issue is an act of politicization if he does not like it. Period.
Make no mistake. According to the Olympic Charter, the goal of Olympism entails the “harmonious development of humankind” and the “preservation of human dignity.” Genocide is the antithesis of the “harmonious development of humankind”, and forced labor is entirely contradictory to the “preservation of human dignity.” The Olympics are bound to be political if these issues are defined to be political.
In fact, the Xi regime is politicizing the Games more than anyone else, which leads to the second reason that the U.S. and other democracies must boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. As legal expert Andrea Worden articulately points out, Beijing 2022 will be Xi Jinping’s Games just as the 1936 Berlin Olympics were Hitler’s.
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, participated by diplomats and dignitaries from the world’s major powers, will serve Xi Jinping’s political agenda in many ways, all intended and planned by the CCP regime.
If we don’t want to legitimize the CCP’s crimes against humanity; if we don’t want to share a common dystopian destiny with Xi Jinping and his regime; if diplomats and dignitaries from the U.S. and its democratic allies don’t want to be part of Beijing’s propaganda spectacle and be used by Xi Jinping and the CCP to help enhance their power and legitimacy, bolster CCP-centered nationalism, and promote a “community of common destiny for humankind” — in short, if we don’t want to be used by Xi Jinping to serve his political agenda, we must boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.