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Tibetan students lock themselves to Olympic rings to protest Beijing games

Members of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE) and Students for Tibetan Freedom protest the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games outside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, December 11, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Reuters

This content was published on Dec 11, 2021 – 14:43

LAUSANNE (Reuters) – Two Tibetan students chained themselves to the Olympic rings outside the Swiss headquarters of the International Olympic Committee on Saturday to demand an international boycott of next year’s Winter Games.

The duo was part of the recent protest against the 2022 Olympics over Beijing’s human rights abuse and treatment of minorities.

The United States said earlier this month that the United States would not send government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics due to China’s human rights “atrocities”.

Members of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE) and Students for a Free Tibet held a sit-in at the International Olympic Committee building in Lausanne where officials gathered for a meeting.

Activists called on countries to withdraw from the event, which they called the “Genocide Games”, which they say are used to burnish China’s reputation.

China took control of Tibet after its forces entered the region in 1950 in what it calls “peaceful liberation”. Tibet has since become one of the most restricted areas in the country. Critics, led by the exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, say Beijing’s rule amounts to “cultural genocide”.

Two activists raised a banner above the entrance to the building that read “No Beijing 2022,” while five students entered the building and staged a sit-in.

“Despite mounting international criticism of the IOC and China, the human rights abuses of the Chinese regime in Tibet, East Turkestan and Hong Kong continue unabated,” said Tenzing Dokhar, campaign manager at TYAE, one of the protesters.

“By cooperating with China, the IOC makes itself an accomplice in the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party, which will be washed away by the Olympic Games in Beijing.”

Police began removing the activists three hours after the protests. Organizers and a Reuters witness described the protest as peaceful, but the International Olympic Committee said one of its guards was injured.

“The IOC always listens to all concerns directly related to the Olympic Games. We have dealt several times with peaceful protesters and explained our position, but we will not deal with violent protesters who used force to enter the IOC building and injured a security personnel. The IOC said in a statement.” .

The organization has previously said that it is a force for good and cannot have any influence on sovereign nations.

Chinese authorities have been accused of facilitating forced labor by detaining nearly one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in camps since 2016.

China denies any wrongdoing, saying it has set up vocational training centers to combat extremism.

(Reporting by Dennis Balibos, writing by John Revell, Editing by Russell)

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