The Ongoing Protests of the Beijing Olympics

On Feb. 4, the Winter Olympics had their opening ceremony in Beijing, China. At the same time, there were countries such as England, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S. politically protesting the games for two main reasons: the ongoing genocide of Uyghur Muslims and the human rights that China breaks in the way they treat their own citizens. 


Uyghur Muslims are an ethnic minority in the Xinjiang region of China. Like Hong Kong and Tibet, Xinjiang is autonomous, which means that it self-governs and has different laws than the People’s Republic of China. Since 2004, China has been accused of making citizens mass migrate into Xinjiang to dilute the Ugyhurs’ populations. According to BBC, “Xinjiang is now covered by a pervasive network of surveillance, including police, checkpoints, and cameras that scan everything from number plates to individual faces.” The reason for the crackdown on Uyghurs in China’s belief in one national religion: Buddhism. 


 BBC states, “Since 2017, when President Xi Jinping issued an order saying all religions in China should be Chinese in orientation, there have been further crackdowns. Campaigners say China is trying to eradicate Uyghur culture.” 


Just before the games began, Japanese lawmakers passed a resolution highlighting the ongoing human rights abuse that the Chinese government is committing. The resolution highlights the Ughyur camps, Hong Kong, and Tibet. 


According to a Human Rights Watch report, “The report identified a range of abuses against Turkic Muslims that amount to offenses committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against a population: mass arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, mass surveillance, cultural and religious erasure, separation of families, forced returns to China, forced labor, and sexual violence and violations of reproductive rights.”


Due to the numerous reports on the ethnic genocide that China is committing on the 12 million Ughyurs, countries have committed to politically protesting the winter Olympics that are being held in China’s capital, Beijing, just as Japan has. 


ABC News shared, “In December, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced America wouldn’t send an official delegation to the Beijing Games citing the government’s mass detention camps and [surveilence] campaign against Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in the country’s western province.” The United States stopped there at the political protest, allowing athletes to compete, a move that was followed by Denmark, the U.K., and Canada. 


While this move by the U.S. should be applauded, many are calling out how little it did to any sort of political movement. A survey by Seton Hall University concluded, “On the question of whether the U.S. should have pulled its athletes from the Winter Olympics competition in addition to the diplomatic boycott, 40 percent of the general population said yes, with 32 percent saying no, and 28 having no answer.” 


With the uncertainty surrounding the entire ordeal, people will just have to wait and see what comes out of this situation.