Beijing Olympics spokesperson Yan Jiarong insisted that concerns about genocide against Uyghurs are “lies.”
During a news conference on Thursday, three days before the conclusion of the Games, organizers’ “persistent and polite refusal to answer such questions gave way to the usual state of affairs at news conferences with Chinese officials — emphatic, calibrated answers about the country’s most sensitive situations,” the Associated Press reported.
“I think these questions are based on lies,” Yan said with respect to concentration camps in Xinjiang. “Some authorities have already disputed such false information with a lot of solid evidence. You are very welcome to refer to all that evidence and facts.”
Yan also repeated Chinese Communist Party talking points with respect to the status of Taiwan.
“Taiwan is an indivisible part of China and this is a well recognized international principle and well recognized in the international community,” she insisted. “We are always against the idea of politicizing the Olympic Games.”
Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams denied any association between the Games and the Uyghur genocide. Another reporter asked whether garments used in the Olympics were made with forced labor. “None of the production took place in Xinjiang, nor any of the input of raw materials comes from that region,” Adams replied.
When pressed by a reporter who suggested that Yan had “politicized” the Games by mentioning China’s view of Taiwan, Adams responded that “there are views on all sorts of things around the world, but our job is to make sure that the Games take place.”
“I think the so-called forced labor in Xinjiang are lies made up by deliberate groups,” Yan offered. “And the relevant organizations have provided a large amount of facts to dispute that. And we are against the politicization of sports.”
The IOC, however, claims to uphold human rights. According to its website:
The IOC is committed to improving the promotion and respect of human rights within the scope of its responsibility across its three spheres of activity — as an organisation, as the owner of the Olympic Games and as the leader of the Olympic Movement.
The objective is to ensure that people’s rights are put at the core of our operations and are respected in line with international agreements and standards — within the IOC’s remit.
The reality of Chinese human rights abuses has driven much controversy about the Games among competing nations. Canada, Australia, and the United States are participating in diplomatic boycotts, refusing to send government officials in light of “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity,” according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“The athletes on Team USA have our full support, we’ll be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games,” Psaki added.
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