BEIJING — Over the past few weeks, China has been on a mission to protect the Olympics that are scheduled to start next week. Not to protect them from a security standpoint, but from freedom of speech.
Activists in China have seen the communist nation crack down on their social media presence, blocking or restricting many across social media accounts. According to South China Morning Post, many have been forced to create new accounts or have been forced off platforms entirely.
Two prominent human rights activists, lawyer Xie Yang and writer Yang Maodong have been arrested. Another rights lawyer has been missing since early December, but is believed to be in secret detention.
The moves come as China has already threatened foreign athletes that political statements will be punished. The New York Post reported one Chinese government official as saying, “Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment.”
While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been quick to respond to events like the US diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games, they have remained silent on these events.
In 2020, the IOC issued a ruling banning political statements by athletes. The organization has bowed to the pressure of the CCP amid each step, refusing to make statements no doubt out of fear. For example, when asked to make a statement on forced Chinese labor, the IOC remained silent.
No one is questioning all the financial benefits that the CCP will receive because of the Olympics, amid their human rights violations and control crackdown. Nations of the world simply choose to look the other way.
China has no reason to worry either. No one is taking the steps to refuse to participate in the games amid the human rights violations of China. As one writer put it, China realizes that it has the economic upper hand on the world and that everyone needs China more than it needs everyone else.
Perhaps that is the entire problem. Is this a situation where China wields so much power against world nations that it can simply do what it wants? It certainly seems that way.
The communist nation has Uyghurs in detention camps and is practicing genocide against the group. It is outright silencing anyone who may speak out against the communist regime, refusing to allow them to speak out against the tyranny and human rights abuses. They are detaining them or removing their ability to access any social media.
What is the response from nations of the world? To fly their athletes to the communist nation for Winter Olympics pretending like nothing is happening.
It is extremely disappointing that our nation, which claims that we stand for freedom, human rights, and the promotion of freedom for all, is simply looking the other way. A US diplomat boycott is not hurting China. The nation will continue to take millions of US dollars as it reaps the economic windfall of hosting the games and athletes.
But what should we expect from our President and leaders, though? After all, they are following the exact same path in America as they coordinate with social media outlets to silence opposition voices.
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