CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Vice President of the International Olympic Committee John Coates says he is challenging China for its human rights record as …
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – The Vice President of the International Olympic Committee, John Coates, says it is not our job to challenge China on its human rights record as Beijing prepares to host the 2022 Winter Games.
There has been widespread criticism of Beijing’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in the northwestern region of China in Xinjiang, which rights groups say is tantamount to genocide, as well as its attacks on protesters in Hong Kong and its policies toward Tibet and Taiwan.
Coates, who is also president of the Australian Olympic Committee, said that while human rights were an important part of the fundamental principles of the Olympics, the IOC had to respect the sovereignty of the host country.
“The IOC’s task is to ensure that there are no human rights violations in connection with the conduct of the game in the National Olympic Committee or within the Olympic movement,” Coates told the National Press Club in the Australian capital, Canberra, on Wednesday. “We have no opportunity to go into a country and tell them what to do.”
Coates said the IOC “was not a world government.”
“We must respect the sovereignty of the countries that host the Games,” Coates said. “The work of the IOC is to protect the Olympians and those involved in the Olympic Games (it is within our area)”
The Winter Games in Beijing are scheduled to run from 4.-20. February, where the Paralympics will follow from 4.-13. March. The Chinese capital hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics.
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