Two Tibetan students chained themselves to the Olympic rings outside the Swiss headquarters of the International Olympic Committee on Saturday to call for an international boycott of next year’s winter games.
The pair were part of the latest protest against the 2022 Olympics over human rights violations in Beijing and the treatment of minorities.
The United States will not send government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics because of China’s “human rights atrocities,” it said earlier this month.
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Members of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE) and Students for a Free Tibet held a sit-in at the IOC building in Lausanne as officials gathered for a meeting.
The activists demanded that countries pull out of the event they have called the “genocide games,” which they say are used to polish China’s reputation.
China seized control of Tibet after its troops entered the region in 1950 in what it calls a “peaceful liberation.” Tibet has since become one of the most restricted areas in the country. Critics, led by the exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, say rule amounts to “cultural genocide”.
Two activists unfurled a banner above the building’s entrance that read “No Beijing 2022,” while five students entered the building and staged a sit-in protest.
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“Despite increasing international criticism of the IOC and China, the human rights violations committed by the Chinese regime in Tibet, East Turkestan and Hong Kong continue unabated,” said Tenzing Dhokhar, TYAE campaign manager, one of the protesters.
“By collaborating with China, the IOC is making itself complicit in the crimes committed by the Chinese Communist Party, which will be averted by the Beijing Olympics.”
In October, a group of Tibetan activists held a mock funeral for the IOC outside its headquarters to protest the games.
The IOC has long been criticized by human rights groups for awarding the Games to Beijing. The organization has previously said it is a force for good and cannot affect sovereign states.
There was no response to a request for comment on Saturday.
The Chinese authorities are accused of facilitating forced labor by detaining about one million Uyghurs and other mainly Muslim minorities in camps since 2016.
China denies wrongdoing and says it has set up vocational training centers to fight extremism.
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