Over 160 human rights groups have submitted a letter to the chief of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2022 Winter Games from China in light of Beijing’s human rights record.
Beijing is facing increased international backlash over policies including its treatment of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang and new security laws in Hong Kong.
“The IOC must recognise that the Olympic spirit and the reputation of the Olympic Games will suffer further damage if the worsening human rights crisis, across all areas under China’s control, is simply ignored,” said the letter, which was released on Tuesday.
2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
The letter asserts that the significance of the Beijing 2008 Olympics stimulated the government to take further actions including programs targeting Xinjiang Uighurs and other ethnic policies.
China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the letter. It maintains policies in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong are basic to national security and social strength.
Uighur, Tibetan, Hong Kong and Mongolian rights groups based in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Australia are the signatories of the letter.
Last month, prominent Uighur rights group World Uighur Congress launched a similar appeal to the IOC over what it said were crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.
The IOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
China has already made enormous preparations for the upcoming Games, which planned to be held from April 20, 2022.