China: Regime must not be allowed to ‘sportswash’ religious abuses during the 2022 Winter Olympics

China: Regime must not be allowed to ‘sportswash’ religious abuses during the 2022 Winter Olympics
Chinese President Xi Jinping CREDIT: Palácio do Planalto Alan Santos/PR
ET staff writer
ET staff writer
29 March, 2022 2 min read

Christians and all human rights advocates should refuse to let China ‘sportswash’ its religious freedom abuses in China as the Winter Olympics take place.

This is the stark message from Paul Robinson, chief executive of global advocacy organisation Release International, which supports persecuted Christians around the world.

The Winter Olympics took centre stage in the sporting calendar in February, with the Paralympics to take place during March.

Robinson said that the three billion people watching the events were ‘three billion opportunities to highlight the truth about how China is persecuting its religious minorities’.

The decision to allow China to stage the Olympics has divided world opinion, with the communist country standing accused of genocide of its Uyghur peoples.

According to human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, a million or more of these mainly Muslim people have been rounded up into camps for ‘re-education’ through labour.

Mr Robinson said China is also acknowledged as one of the worst persecutors of Christians in the world.

It has been named as a country of particular concern by Release International and the US State Department, and stands accused of ‘sportswashing’ its human rights abuses to try to gain legitimacy.

Robinson said, ‘We’re calling for prayer that the international spotlight on China will highlight the day-to-day reality facing many who are suffering for their faith, and that fresh pressure will be applied to finally allow full religious freedom for all China’s citizens.’

Bob Fu CREDIT China Aid

One Release International partner, who lives in the US, has declared the games to be a ‘gigantic propaganda show in the city of Beijing’ to showcase the Chinese Communist party.

Bob Fu said he backs a boycott of the Games and is calling for those who do attend to ‘use every occasion, opportunity and gesture to register solidarity with the victims’.

Mr Fu, a former Tiananmen Square democracy protester now in exile in the United States, likened the Games to the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany, which were staged to legitimise the Nazi regime.

Now a key figure for China Aid, Mr Fu claimed that by locking up Uyghurs in huge compounds ‘China has committed genocide, crimes against humanity’. He likened these massive centres to ‘modern-day concentration camps’.

Countries that have announced diplomatic boycotts of the Winter Olympics include the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Lithuania.

As reported many times in ET, China has demolished churches, torn down crosses, replaced church leaders with those approved by the state, imprisoned others, and installed advanced face-recognition cameras around places of worship to monitor congregations.

ET staff writer
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