Behavior by athletes that violates the Olympic spirit or Chinese rules could be subject to sanctions, a Beijing 2022 official has said, after rights groups raised concerns about the safety of competitors if they were protesting at next month’s Games.
Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states that “no form of political, religious or racial demonstration or propaganda is permitted at Olympic venues”, although it was relaxed last year to allow gestures on the ground if done without disturbance and with respect. for competitors. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made it clear that athletes are free to express their opinions on any issue during press conferences and interviews in the Olympic bubble, as long as it is not during competitions or medal ceremonies.
Yang Shu, deputy director general of the Beijing 2022 international relations department, was asked during a virtual briefing on Wednesday about athletes’ concerns if they speak out on rights issues during the Winter Games, which begin February 4. in line with the Olympic spirit, I am sure, will be protected, and any behavior or speech that is contrary to the Olympic spirit, especially Chinese laws and regulations, is also subject to certain penalties,” Yang said.
Cancellation of accreditation is a potential sanction within the guidelines of the organizers’ manual, he said at the event hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Washington. However, the playbook primarily deals with COVID-19 prevention measures and does not address issues such as speaking out or protesting. In previous Olympics, any violation of the Olympic Charter by athletes was handled solely by the IOC.
Yang’s comments came after athletes heading to the Beijing Olympics were warned by speakers at a Human Rights Watch seminar on Tuesday to talk about human rights issues in China, for their own security. Rights groups have long criticized the IOC for awarding the Games to China, citing its treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups, which the United States has called genocide. China denies allegations of human rights abuses.
On Tuesday, the IOC said in an email response to a request for comment from Reuters that it “recognizes and upholds human rights as enshrined in both the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter and in its code of ethics” at all times. Several countries, including the United States, Britain, Japan and Australia, have announced diplomatic boycotts of the Games due to human rights concerns in China.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)