Beijing Olympic organisers hit out at Xinjiang ‘lies’
Beijing Olympics organisers hit out at “lies” about Xinjiang on Thursday and reiterated the Chinese government’s stance on Taiwan, while also railing against “politicising” the Games.
The United States has led a diplomatic boycott by some Western nations at the Games over rights concerns in China, especially the fate of the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Rights issues overshadowed the build-up to the Olympics in the Chinese capital and they roared back to the fore during a regular daily press conference featuring an IOC spokesman and officials from the local organising committee.
Campaigners say that at least one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims have been incarcerated in camps in Xinjiang, while there are also allegations of forced sterilisations of women and forced labour.
“These issues are irrelevant to the Winter Games but I still feel obliged to make a quick comment again,” said Beijing 2022 Organising Committee spokeswoman Yan Jiarong, after foreign reporters twice asked about Xinjiang.
“The questions are based very much on lies. Some authorities have already disputed such false information with a lot of solid evidence.”
Yan also criticised what she called “lies by deliberate groups” over Xinjiang.
China vehemently denies all charges over its treatment of Uyghurs and maintains the camps are vocational training centres aimed at reducing the appeal of Islamic extremism.
Yan was also bullish on the question of Taiwan. China claims the self-ruled democratic island as part of its territory to be re-taken one day, by force if necessary.
At all Olympic Games, athletes from Taiwan compete under the banner of “Chinese Taipei”.
“This is something that we really have to take a solemn position on,” said Yan, following a question about Taiwanese athletes at the Games and their attendance at Sunday’s closing ceremony.
“What I want to say is that there is only one China in the world.
“Taiwan is an indivisible part of China and this is a well-recognised international principle and well recognised in the international community.
“We are always against the idea of politicising the Olympic Games.”