We Oppose the Beijing Winter Olympics

We Oppose the Beijing Winter Olympics

(日本語) (中国語)

No 2020 Olympics Disaster OkotowaLink

January 20, 2022

The Winter Olympics are to be held from February 4 to February 20 in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, followed by the Winter Paralympics from March 4 to March 13.

We protested last year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, opposing them as a disaster for Japan and the world, and also called for the end of all Olympics anywhere. On the eve of yet another edition, we are once again voicing our opposition: we demand the cancellation of the upcoming Winter Games in China and the abolition of the entire institution of the Olympics.

In response to the Chinese government’s human rights violations and oppression of ethnic minorities, the United States has led a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, joined by several other nations like Britain, Australia, and Canada. The Japanese government too has announced its intention not to send senior officials. This is nothing less than an attempt by the United States and its allies to use the Olympic Games as a means of exerting political pressure in a bid to encircle China politically and militarily.

International Olympic Committee Chair Thomas Bach held a video call with a female tennis player who alleged sexual assault by a senior Chinese official, claiming he had confirmed her safety. The IOC’s Dick Pound has defended China as a “very good” country and denied knowing anything about the human rights problem. These responses by the leading members of the IOC reveal that the Olympic mafia’s sole goal is to ensure the Winter Games are held smoothly. To that end, they are shamelessly and reprehensibly willing to cast aside even the pretense of upholding human rights.

But regardless of what the IOC says, China is destroying people’s lives and trampling on human rights in order to host the Olympics.

In areas where the main Olympic competition venues were built, entire villages were relocated and urban neighborhoods destroyed, with demolition even proceeding before residents had received their compensation. It echoes the situation with the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, which saw large-scale redevelopments that transformed the city and ushered in rapid gentrification. Meanwhile, human rights activists and lawyers, journalists, and others were subject to harsh surveillance. Police detained people without any judicial proceedings. Authorities limited what people could do on the streets, even rejecting applications to hold protests in areas where it was nominally permitted and detaining the applicants. An activist involved with land issues launched a petition calling for human rights instead of the Olympics, only to be charged with “subversion of state authority” and jailed.

In China today, people once again live under authoritarian conditions imposed to ensure the “success” of the Games, with the voices of the people suppressed. But this repressive situation is not limited to China. It is merely the latest example of the disasters that unfold in various forms whenever and wherever the Olympics are held. We have witnessed this in Tokyo and other places time after time. The opposition to the Olympics now voiced around the world is amplified by the residents in host cities directly victimized by the Games. We are committed to joining them in continuing to demand the abolition of the Olympics, a mega-event that tramples on the lives and rights of ordinary people.

Both Beijing and Zhangjiakou have histories as capitals of puppet states imposed by the occupying military forces during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Though Japan has continually refused to accept responsibility for its invasion of China or pay compensation to the victims, it praises the principles of Olympism; it foments xenophobic sentiments at home, yet talks of human rights. We must not allow Japan to use these tactics to justify its attempts to coerce China.

The United States and the nations like Japan that toe the same line turn a blind eye to the disasters ushered in by the mega-events they have shared, using the violence of capitalism and nation-states against people in other countries for political purposes. People say they don’t want “bad” countries to host the Olympics and besmirch its ideals. But we say: it’s the Olympics that are bad and we don’t want any country to host them. It is the Olympics that destroy people’s lives and trample on human rights. No Olympics anywhere! Abolish the Olympics!