FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Dharamsala Regrets 2008 Olympic Games Going to Beijing
Believes it will encourage China with its repressive policies
13 July 2001
“We deeply regret that Beijing is awarded the 2008 Olympic Games,” said Kalon T.C. Tethong, the kalon for the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration, based in Dharamsala.
“This will put the stamp of international approval for Beijing’s human rights abuses and will encourage China to escalate its repression. The people who will suffer because of the action of the IOC will be ordinary Chinese, Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongolians and others who work for fundamental rights and freedoms,” Tethong said.
“The members of the IOC who voted for Beijing must shoulder the responsibility for the suffering that will certainly be un-leashed on the ordinary people by a totalitarian one-party state which will assume that it has received international permission for its horrendous repression,” Tethong said.
“With this single act, the IOC has erased the memory of more than 40 million Chinese who died in the great leap forward era in the 1950s, the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution, the massacre that followed the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy and the 1.2 million Tibetans who died as a direct result of the Chinese occupation of Tibet,” Tethong said.
Despite official Chinese protestations that the Olympic Games is not about politics, a sports official of the Tibet Autonomous Region said that Beijing being awarded to host the 2008 Olympic Games would enhance China’s ability to combat the activities of the Tibetan nationalists. Shedrub Namgyal, the secretary of the Tibet Sports Bureau said Beijing hosting the Olympics would improve Tibet’s tourism industry. “With more and more foreigners coming to Tibet, people will know more about Tibet and there is no one wanting to listen to those splittists,” a Chinese communist term for those Tibetans fighting for the freedom of Tibet.
Even in far away Moscow where the decision was made the influence of Beijing was present. On 11 July, two days before the voting, five Tibetans, and one Swiss supporter were arrested after attempting to stage a peaceful protest against Beijing’s bid. Two others were briefly detained. Among those arrested were two reporters.
The question is if China is capable of pressuring Moscow to arrests activists in Russia what will China not be capable of doing to peaceful protestors in Beijing?
“This is not about the spirit of Olympics. This is about business and how business interests shape sporting decisions,” said Tethong.
Mrs. Kesang Y. Takla
Mr. Thubten Samphel
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