Tibetans in different parts of the world marched in protest against the Beijing Winter Olympics on Thursday, calling it a “shame” that the Games would take place in China despite its human rights abuses.
One of the protests involved 500 demonstrators chanting “No rights, no Games” and “Beijing Olympics: genocide Games” and took place outside the International Olympic Committee’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Loten Namling, an artist, led a procession of skis that were painted with the word “freedom,” according to AFP.
“The reason why I’m dragging the Chinese flag is China destroyed my country,” he told AFP. “China destroyed my culture. Let them realize how painful it is for us.”
Namling has lived in Switzerland for 32 years. He added that “never, ever should they give the Olympics to mass murderers and dictators.”
Others carried placards that said “Save Tibet” and “No More Bloody Games,” according to AP News. Some also came to support Uyghurs, another ethnic minority facing persecution in China.
Tibetan students also staged a protest on Thursday in Dharamsala, India, which serves as the home of exiled Tibet spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, according to Euronews. Attendees reportedly depicted both Chinese President Xi Jinping and victims of his alleged abuses.
On Friday, up to 60 Tibetans held a protest near the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, according to PTI. The demonstration, which lasted 45 minutes, saw protesters carry placards that read “Say no to genocide Games” and “CCP, stop killing Tibet.”
In a statement, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, cited an escalation of China’s brutality in Tibet after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The advocacy group urged countries to confront China on its oppression of Tibetans, Uyghurs and other minorities.
“Over the past few months, we at the International Campaign for Tibet have met with government officials and national Olympic committees to share some best practices to help athletes avoid China’s exploitation. The best practices include giving athletes the option of a human rights disclaimer so they can publicly disassociate from the Chinese government’s human rights abuses,” ICT said, according to IANS.
The group praised governments that have already announced a diplomatic boycott of the event and urged others to follow suit; however, they pointed out that the move is not an end in itself.
ICT also stressed that NBC, which airs the Olympics, has a responsibility to inform viewers of China’s actions. The group said NBC is giving Beijing a platform to spread its propaganda.
In December, the International Tibet Network (ITN), a global coalition of Tibet-related non-governmental organizations, published an open letter to athletes that informed them of China’s alleged atrocities against Tibetans, Uyghurs and Hong Kongers.
“Mass imprisonment and surveillance, torture, children forcibly separated from their parents, sexual abuse and systematic rape, LGBT repression, enforced disappearances, forced labor, fake democracy, patriotic education – these are all horrific realities that our people suffer on a daily basis at the hands of the Chinese brutal regime,” the group wrote.
“We appeal to you to use your position, to stand on the rights side of history, and say no to the Genocide Games. Your support will bring so much hope to us, our family members, and our communities. It will set a precedent for other athletes to speak up.”
#NoBeijing2022 protests also broke out in over 60 other cities, including London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Tokyo. The Olympics continued on Friday, Beijing time.