As the 2022 Beijing Winter Games draw to a close, the leadership of the International Olympic Committee [IOC] may feel it can breathe a collective sigh of relief and put this controversy behind it. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The IOC has been exposed once and for all as a failure. Its attempts to claim that sport and politics are separate were quickly exposed as a sham by a Chinese government determined to politicise Beijing 2022 from the very start.
For the opening ceremony, it selected Uyghur skier Yilamujiang to carry the Olympic torch while over 2 million of her fellow Uyghurs remain arbitrarily detained in camps, facing torture, forced sterilisation, and sexual abuse. During the Games, a Chinese government spokesperson took the opportunity to once again claim that Taiwan was part of the People’s Republic of China. The IOC has backed Beijing at every stage and shares responsibility for the CCP’s propaganda. The IOC ends these Games weaker and more reviled than ever, increasingly recognised as unfit for purpose and in need of reform.
The IOC may have failed to stand up to the CCP, but millions of us did. The real story of these Winter Games was away from Beijing’s fake snow-covered ski slopes. The real story was how a powerful, defiant, global campaign rose up to challenge the CCP, built on solidarity between Tibetans, Hongkongers, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolians, and Chinese democrats and dissidents. The CCP and IOC were no match for a campaign that, as the Games drew nearer, was racking up victory after victory.
Thanks to the No Beijing 2022 campaign, multiple governments publicly committed to boycotting the Winter Games due to human rights concerns. While a handful of governments chose to boycott the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Beijing 2022 was boycotted by over a dozen governments including the United Kingdom and the United States.
Thanks to the No Beijing 2022 campaign, the Winter Games were a rating failure. The public stayed away in droves, with XX% stating that they were less likely to watch the Games due to China’s human rights record, viewing figures reported to be down at least 30 percent from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Thanks to the No Beijing 2022 campaign, sponsors began to question their involvement with an event being dubbed as the “Genocide Games”. Multiple reports highlighted the discomfort of several official sponsors in being associated with the Beijing Winter Games.
And, thanks to the No Beijing 2022 campaign, an international coalition, as tenacious and strong as an Olympic athlete, is poised to challenge any other body considering awarding the CCP another major sporting event.