x

International

Broadcasters Urged to Cancel Plans to Cover Beijing Olympics

September 8, 2021

TOKYO  — Some of the world’s largest broadcasters including American network NBC are being asked by human rights groups to cancel plans to cover next year's Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Winter Games are scheduled to open on Feb. 4.

The request comes in an open letter from rights groups representing minorities in China, including Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong residents and others.

The letter, obtained by the Associated Press, was sent Tuesday to NBC Universal chief executive officer Jeff Shell and other international broadcast executives. NBC is paying $7.75 billion for the rights to the next six Olympics and works closely as a partner with the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee.

Those payments are estimated to account for up to 40% of the IOC’s total income. The letter says the broadcasters risk “being complicit” in the “worsening human rights abuses” in China.

The letter comes just days after the delayed Summer Olympics and Paralympics wrapped up in Tokyo, putting the focus on the IOC and its choice of Beijing.

The IOC has repeatedly said it is only a sports body and its president Thomas Bach has declined to address or condemn the treatment of Uyghurs or other minorities in China. The IOC is also facing calls for a boycott, pressure on some of its 15 top sponsors, and some athletes speaking of the difficult situation they face.

A vice president of one major IOC sponsor, Intel, has said he concurs with the assessment that genocide is taking place.

“All of your companies are at serious risk of being complicit in China’s plan to ‘sport wash' the severe and worsening human rights abuses and embolden the actions of the Chinese authorities,” the open letter reads. “By broadcasting Beijing 2022 your companies will legitimize these abuses and promote what is being widely described as the ‘Genocide Games’.”

China’s foreign ministry has repeatedly criticized what it calls the “politicization of sports” and has said any Olympic boycott is “doomed to failure.” It has also denied committing genocide against the Uyghur people, describing the charges as the “lie of the century.”

The Beijing Olympics are likely to be held with few fans, and media are likely to be segregated from athletes with little possibility of free movement. The rationale will be the ongoing pandemic.

The IOC has declined several recent calls to move the Olympics out of Beijing. China is accused by some foreign governments and researchers of imposing forced labor, systematic forced birth control and torture upon Uyghurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group Xinjiang, a region in the country’s west.

Lhadon Tethong, co-chair of the International Tibet Network, said Canadian broadcaster CBC, Britain's BBC and ARD in Germany, which all receive public money, should not move forward with any broadcast plans. She urged the public in those countries to speak up.

“It is unconscionable that NBC, CBC and other broadcasters plan to help Chinese leaders project a rosy image of an ‘Olympic Games as usual’ while they are carrying out genocide against the Uyghurs, and engaging in a massive campaign of repression against Tibetans and so many others," Tethong wrote to Associated Press.

The IOC included human rights requirements several years ago in the host city contract for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but it did not include those guidelines — the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights — for Beijing.

Paris is the first Olympics to contain the standards, long pushed for by human rights groups.

Beijing was the IOC’s choice for the 2022 Winter Olympics, a decision made in 2015 after European bids including Oslo and Stockholm pulled out for financial or political reasons. The IOC was left with only only two candidates: Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan. IOC members chose Beijing in a 44-40 vote.

Beijing also held the 2008 Summer Olympics, promising at the time that the Games would improve the human rights situation in the country.

“With this letter we are putting the networks on notice,” Tethong said. “If they broadcast the Beijing 2022 Olympics, they will be complicit."

RELATED

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Canadian 15-year-old Summer McIntosh won another gold medal and Italy pipped the United States to the men's 4x100 medley relay title on the last night of racing at the world swimming championships.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission…to Alonnisos, a TNH Documentary

O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.