Appointment as Kalon

Hon Warren Entsch, Co-chair of the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet has written to Kalon Norzin Dolma with congratulations on her appointment as Kalon for the Information and International Relations Department. He wrote: “I am writing to you to personally congratulate you on your recent appointment as Minister for Department of Information and International Relations with the Central Tibetan Administration. This is a wonderful achievement and recognition of your hard work, passion and unwavering commitment. I would also like to take this opportunity in my capacity as co-chair of the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet to wish you all the very best success in your new role. The Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet is fully com­mitted to supporting the non-violent struggle of Tibetan people for the restoration of freedom for Tibet. I sincerely look forward to meeting with you personally when the opportunity presents in the near future.” Read the letter here.

Severe restrictions on religious practice

The Chinese government has recently imposed a strict ban on religious activities on all Tibetan Party members and cadres in Tsolho (Ch: Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP) in Amdo (Ch: Qinghai Province) according to a reliable source. The ban required all party members to refrain from engaging in religious activities at home, being forced to get rid of personal religious altars and shrines.

The punishment for not complying with the order includes facing lay off from government jobs and deprivation of fundamental rights including denial of state benefits and subsidies: “Such measures have pressured Tibetan Party members in the region into removing personal Buddhist shrines and altars at their homes against their will.”

In Tibetan homes altars are commonly seen with images of Buddha or other spiritual leaders who stand in highest regard by performing rituals and offerings. It remains a crucial part of the practices in Tibetan Buddhism which is a galling reminder to the Chinese authorities of Tibetan culture and identity. In addition, strict bans are imposed on holding prayer services, implying further restrictions on funeral practices for deceased family members and relatives – a clear sign of assault on Buddhist customs and practices. “While the current decree is only being implemented in some areas, it is very likely to be expanded into other areas in the future.”

On 22 April 2021 the Chinese government introduced “Code of Conduct for Communist Party Members in the Tibet Autonomous Region for Not Believing in Religion (for trial implementation)” comprehensively detailing the prohibitions on the religious practices for party members in the “Tibet Autonomous Region”. This code forbids party members from engaging in religious activity both in public and private life, including “advising their religious family members and relatives to not set up altars, place religious objects, hang religious pictures and photos of religious personalities at home”.

Due to the Chinese government’s strict control and severe restrictions on the flow of information out of Tibet there have been limited or no reports or information over the implementation of the ban until now. The report of the ban imposed on the party members of the Tsolho TAP under this decree indicates and illustrates pervasive enforcement of the ban since it was introduced.

“Code of Conduct for Communist Party Members in the Tibet Autonomous Region for Not Believing in Religion” required the party members to adhere to Marxism materialism and atheism. They are also required to be fully loyal to the party and its constitution and advise their family members to realise that religion is incompatible with the Party’s founding principles and mission.

Click here for the full text.

Sinicisation of all Tibetan schools

Download the report at
Boston — Chinese government policies are forcing three out of every four Tibetan students into a vast network of colonial boarding schools, separating children as young as four from their parents, Tibet Action Institute revealed in a report today. The schools are a cornerstone of Xi Jinping’s campaign to supplant Tibetan identity with a homogenous Chinese identity in order to neutralize potential resistance to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule.
The report, “Separated From Their Families, Hidden From the World: China’s Vast System of Colonial Boarding Schools Inside Tibet,” finds that an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 Tibetan students aged six to 18, as well as an unknown number of four and five-year olds, are in these state-run schools. The schools function as sites for remolding children into Chinese nationals loyal to the CCP. Removed from their families and communities, students must study primarily in Chinese, are barred from practicing their religion, and are subjected to political indoctrination.
“By intentionally uprooting Tibetan children from their families and culture and making them live in state-run boarding schools, the Chinese authorities are using one of the most heinous tools of colonization to attack Tibetan identity,” said Lhadon Tethong, Director of Tibet Action Institute. “China’s unprecedented campaign of forced sinicization in Tibet targets even the youngest children and demands the urgent intervention of the United Nations and concerned governments.”
Over the last decade, Chinese authorities have systematically eliminated local schools in Tibet and replaced them with centralized boarding schools, including for elementary-aged children. Monastery schools and other privately-run Tibetan schools have also been forced to close, leaving parents with no choice but to send their children away. In cases where parents try to resist, authorities use threats and intimidation to ensure compliance.
When parents in one village resisted sending their children to boarding school, they were visited multiple times by authorities. At one of these meetings, with police present, they were told: “…If we have to come back tomorrow, it won’t be good.…If you don’t listen [to us] we will squeeze [pressure] you one by one. That is easy for us to do….If you continue to choose not to acknowledge this policy and refuse to send your children to the schools, we will consider this to be a protest.…”

Researchers in Tibet and China have documented serious emotional and psychological harm to Tibetan students living in colonial boarding schools. Restrictions on access to Tibet make first-hand verification of current conditions impossible, but interviews with Tibetans abroad who attended earlier iterations of boarding school in Tibet paint a harrowing picture of children living in poor conditions, subjected to physical and sexual abuse, racism and discrimination, as well as political indoctrination.

The report draws on a range of primary and secondary sources, including first-hand accounts from inside Tibet that describe how China’s education policies affect the lived experience of Tibetans on the ground, statements from Tibetans in exile who are survivors of China’s colonial boarding school system, data collected from official sources, and scholars in Tibet, China and abroad.

“China claims to be educating Tibetan children, but the world knows what it looks like when children are pushed into residential schools run by a state that wants to wipe out their culture,” said Tethong. “Beijing must be pressed to respect the right of all Tibetan children to receive a high-quality mother-tongue education without being separated from their families, before any more irreparable harm is done.”

Contact: Lhadon Tethong, Tibet Action Institute +1 (917) 418-4181
Tenzin Dorjee, Tibet Action Institute +1 (646) 724 0748

[TSG-L] MPs in House of Commons Unanimously Passed Motion Calling for Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

MPs in House of Commons Unanimously Passed Motion Calling for Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

London: MPs in the House of Commons approved a parliamentary motion calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in China on Thursday 15th July. The motion was passed after almost two hours of debate on Beijing Olympics and Chinese Government Sanctions. This motion was proposed by Honourable Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, and Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet.

Tim, in his powerful speech, said that the 2022 Winter Olympic games should not be hosted in a “country whose government is credibly accused of mass atrocity crimes”.

He added that the UK should decline invitations for its representatives to attend the Winter Olympics next year unless the Chinese government “ends the atrocities” occurring in Xinjiang and Tibet.

Tim re-tabled his Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill and said the US Congress unanimously passed the Bill on which it is based—why can’t we? he said.

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat also a chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, in his remarks said one way we can respond China is by standing up and making it clear that we do not accept the legitimacy of the regime, and that we do not accept its right to so change the truth and so violate the reality of the world in which we live that it can use the ultimate evidence—the ultimate moment of propaganda—of the global success of rules, fairness and integrity, and twist, contort and divert it to its own nefarious ends.

Liberal Democrat MP Were Hobhouse, also a member of APPGT, congratulated Tim Loughton and thanked him for securing this debate. She added “Tim knows how much I support him in his very active campaigning in calling out the human rights abuses of the Chinese Communist party against millions of its own people, and it is such a very important debate that we are having today.”

Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith said “Everything is political in a communist regime. Every single aspect of people’s lives is governed by a communist political regime. Our Government must recognise that they are no longer dealing with a decent organisation that would uphold freedoms; they are dealing with a dictatorial, militaristic, intolerant and oppressive regime. Every time that we give China public demonstrations such as the Olympics, we do ourselves and, worse, the Uyghurs, the Tibetans and all those oppressed people a disfavour. Let us stand up for freedom, democracy and human rights and not back these games.”

Labour MP Navendu Mishra in his speech said
“ I would like to draw the House’s attention to the situation in Tibet. At the time of the last Olympics held in China, in 2008, thousands of Tibetans took to the streets to protest and were brutally suppressed, with hundreds killed. The full total of deaths remains unknown. Since then, we have seen the forced erosion of Tibetan culture, from the replacement of the Tibetan language with Mandarin in schools to the repeated use of arbitrary detention and widespread torture. In addition, large religious communities have seen thousands of residents forcefully removed and their homes demolished. The rich Tibetan culture, Buddhist religion and Tibetan language are being forcefully eroded, and freedom of thought, opinion, expression, religion and conscience is being not just undermined, but actively eradicated.”
Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani said “My anxiety is that if we have diplomats and politicians attending the Beijing Olympics—the genocide Olympics, as they have been referred to—it enables the CCP to sportswash what is happening in Xinjiang and it makes a mockery of everything we stand for. When the Foreign Secretary talks about: “Internment camps, arbitrary detention, political re-education, forced labour, torture and forced sterilisation—all on an industrial scale”

Many other MPs participated in the debate and finally, Minister of Asia MP Nigel Adam in his concluding remark said “We are deeply concerned at reports of coercive control, restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and labour transfer schemes in Tibet. We have drawn attention to the human rights situation there, including most recently in a ministerial statement at the UN Human Rights Council.
Let me end by saying that no decisions have yet been made about ministerial travel to the Beijing winter Olympics. If there is a Division on the motion today, the Government will therefore abstain.“

The motion was unanimously passed in the house of common after almost two hours of thoughtful and meaningful debate.

Report file by Office of Tibet.

[TSG-L] His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message on the occasion of his 86th birthday

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message on the occasion of his 86th birthday

Dharamshala: Earlier this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama virtually addressed the occasion of his 86th birthday thanking everyone for the birthday greetings that poured in from all corners of the globe.

“I am just one human being. Many people really show they love me. And many people actually love my smile. In spite of my old age, my face is quite handsome. Many people really show me genuine friendship.

Now that it is nearly my birthday, I want to express my deep appreciation to all my friends who have really shown e love, respect and trust. For myself, I can assure you that for the rest of my life I am committed to serving humanity and working to protect the climate condition.

Since I became a refugee and now settled in India, I have taken full advantage of India’s freedom and religious harmony. I want to assure you that for the rest of my life I am committed to reviving ancient Indian knowledge.

I really appreciate the Indian concept of secular values, not dependent on religion, such as honesty, karuna (compassion) and ahimsa (non-violence).

So, my dear friends, on my birthday, this is my gift. Please keep it in mind. I myself am committed to non-violence and compassion until my death.

This is my offering to my friends. I hope my friends will also keep non-violence and compassion for the rest of your lives.

All my human brothers and sisters should keep these two things non-violence and compassion, until your death”, concluded His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Friends of Tibet (NZ) – Death of Thuten Kesang, QSM.

FOT National Chairman, Thuten Kesang, died 23rd May at Auckland Hospital following complications of a brain aneurysm.

These are the words of his wife Gwen Kesang:  Thuten was so dearly loved by all. He was active in so many things and was well known for his passion for Tibet, as well as other community involvements. He loved his tennis, and had been made a Life Member of his tennis club in 2003.

Thuten was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in 2003. Anyone typing in his name on Google will find many entries on him. He was also the Hon Secretary of the Liaison Office of Tibet in New Zealand, Chairman of the Dalai Lama Visit Trust New Zealand, Auckland Multicultural Society President, patron of Global OGBs association from his old school in India, and the retired President of the Auckland Tibetan Association.

Thuten’s family have been overwhelmed with messages of condolences, more than could be individually replied to, but express much gratitude for these.

[TSG-L] [ICT] As the Chinese Communist Party turns 100, ICT deplores destruction of Tibetan culture

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its centenary on July 1 with the claim of having “stood firmly against ethnic oppression and discrimination, upheld equality among all ethnic groups, and introduced regional ethnic autonomy.” Most recently in a new White Paper on Tibet, issued in May 2021, China claimed, “Tibet has broken free from its backward, autocratic, isolated past to embrace prosperity, democracy, and an open future.”

This could not be further from the truth. On the impact of Chinese rule in Tibet, the 10th Panchen Lama summed it up best when he said, “If we compare the price of the sacrifice we (Tibetans) have made with the development that we have seen, my feeling is that the value of our sacrifice has been far greater. Our sacrifice far outweighs our development.”

In fact, Tibetans are straining under the crushing weight of a totalitarian one-party dictatorship. The Tibetan people have no say in running their own affairs; all important decisions are made by the CCP and non-Tibetans dominate key leadership posts.

No human rights

If we look at the human rights situation, Tibetans are singled out for greater abuse because of their distinct identity. Tibetans are persecuted simply for preserving their cultural identity and face immense restrictions on their abilities to practice their religion, speak in their mother tongue, travel and exercise freedom of speech.

Chen Quanguo, party secretary in Xinjiang (known to Uyghurs as East Turkestan), who caused international outrage over his mass internment camps of Uyghurs and Kazakhs, previously held the same position in the Tibet Autonomous Region. During his tenure in TAR, he implemented policies aimed at controlling the Tibetan people, some of which are being replicated in Xinjiang today. In the 2012 detention of hundreds of Tibetan pilgrims returning from Buddhist teachings given by the Dalai Lama, we can see a forerunner to Chen’s mass internment in Xinjiang; many of the detainees were elderly men and women who were held for weeks or even months. There is deep concern about the possible establishment of coercive labor programs in Tibet. These programs could have a deep impact on the lives of Tibetans who are being uprooted from their families, their communities and their culture. In the climate of fear that persists in Tibet it is a certainty that Tibetans do not have a choice but to comply with the measures stipulated by Chinese authorities.

Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism

Concerning religion, which lies at the core of Tibetan identity, Tibetans are being persecuted for their beliefs. Chinese authorities have subjected monks and nuns to ‘patriotic re-education’ and Tibetans can be arrested simply for owning photographs of the Dalai Lama or celebrating his birthday. Tibetan Buddhism focuses on a system of rigorous study that is being severely restricted by Chinese policies which seek to break the bond between Tibetan people and their Buddhist faith.

The Dalai Lama and the Tibetans in exile are able to share the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism with the whole world. But in Tibet under Chinese rule, Tibetan Buddhism faces threats to its survival as a result of Chinese policies; even Gyaltsen Norbu, appointed as the Panchen Lama by the Chinese state, has warned that Chinese policies could lead to a situation where Tibetan Buddhism exists in name only. The CCP’s preposterous claim to have authority over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is just one of the most visible efforts at sinicization, which suborns this ancient faith to Beijing’s authoritarian political goals.

Environmental degradation in Tibet

The issue of environment in Tibet is intimately linked to human rights. For Tibetans, who have lived in harmony with nature for centuries based on the principles of interdependence enshrined in their religious beliefs and customs, the degradation of the environment is a deep source of concern. China’s reckless development policies are devastating Tibet’s environment. Unchecked logging and strip mining, reckless damming, and the forced removal of Tibetan nomads from the grasslands are just some of the hallmarks of China’s stewardship of the Tibetan environment.

Dalai Lama provides vision

The Dalai Lama and Tibetan people have a vision for how Tibetan culture can benefit world civilization, but Beijing evidently sees little value in it beyond the profit of the tourism industry. In 1987 the 10th Panchen Lama observed, “There is not much attention given to the study and use of the Tibetan language. If Tibet is the most religious region, it goes without saying that the study and use of the Tibetan language should be promoted. But many wrong things have been done.” Unfortunately, the study of Tibetan in the schools in Tibet continues to face tremendous challenges three decades later.

The 10th Panchen Lama also said, “Tibetans are the legitimate masters of Tibet. The wishes and feeling of the people of Tibet must be respected.” Our message to the CCP today is fundamentally the same. The Dalai Lama’s consistent advocacy of non-violence is a key in reaching a lasting solution for Tibetans, and it is in the best interests of both the Chinese and the Tibetan people. Until the CCP begins to respect the aspirations of the Tibetan people, all it will have are empty words.

On Panchen Lama’s 32nd birthday, US demands China reveal whereabouts of the long abducted Tibetan leader

On Panchen Lama’s 32nd birthday, US demands China reveal whereabouts of the long abducted Tibetan leader
Staff Reporter

April 25, 2021

Dharamshala: In week commemorating the Panchen Lama’s 32nd birthday in absentia, the US State Department demanded that China reveal “immediately” the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama, the second-highest-ranking figure in Tibetan Buddhism, 26 years after he was disappeared at age 6.

“April 25th will mark the 32nd birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama who was forced to spend another year disappeared, separated from his community, and denied his rightful place as a prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader,” said Spokesperson Ned Price during a press conference, adding that the United States supports Tibetans’ religious freedom and their unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity.

“We call on the PRC Government to immediately make public the Tibetan-venerated Panchen Lama’s whereabouts and to give us this opportunity to meet with the Panchen Lama in person.”

On 25 April 1995, Panchen Gedhun Choekyi Nyima turned six years old. Barely a month later, on May 15, 1995, the then six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima chosen by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be the 11th Panchen Lama was abducted by Chinese authorities along with his entire family.

He has not been seen or heard from since and remains the world’s longest-serving political prisoner.

Since his abduction, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the UN Working Group of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has raised questions on the whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama. Similarly, the US Congress, European Parliament, and parliaments of various other nations such as the UK, Canada, various governments, international organizations, and Tibet support groups have released reports, issued statements, and passed resolutions calling for his immediate release.

Earlier this week, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reiterated its call for the Chinese government to release Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, one of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience.

“It has been nearly 26 years since the Chinese Communist Party’s enforced disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who was only six years old at the time of his abduction. As Gedhun turns 32 on April 25 this year, his whereabouts and wellbeing remain unknown. This lack of information is unacceptable,” noted USCIRF Commissioner Nadine Maenza, who advocates for Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project.

The USCIRF renewed its call for the “Chinese government to allow an independent expert to visit and confirm the wellbeing of the 11th Panchen Lama, and to release him immediately and unconditionally.”

“It is despicable that the Chinese Communist Party continues to interfere in the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama,” added USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel. “The combination of the level of absurdity and ruthlessness in the CCP’s persecution of the Tibetan community should alarm the international community, which should stand united in calling for the release of the Panchen Lama.”

Dalai Lama preaches common interests at Nobel climate summit

Dalai Lama preaches common interests at Nobel climate summit
By International Campaign for Tibet|April 28, 2021
The Dalai Lama urged people to act on their shared interests to create a more sustainable future for the planet in remarks this week at the first Nobel Prize Summit. He also called for a fairer distribution of wealth, better emotional hygiene and education that teaches humanity’s oneness.
The 1989 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama was the first Nobel laureate to receive the award specifically for environmental efforts—in addition to his advocacy for a peaceful end to China’s oppression in Tibet.
At the summit yesterday, April 27, 2021, the Dalai Lama said, laughing, “If we really try to live on Mars, impossible!” He added: “So therefore, only this planet, the blue planet, is our only home.”
The summit, titled “Our Planet, Our Future,” has brought together Nobel laureates, scientists, policymakers, business executives and youth leaders to discuss opportunities to put the world on a path to greater sustainability this decade. The first-of-its-kind summit ends today.
The Dalai Lama spoke at the event in an interview with Marcia McNutt, president of the US National Academy of Sciences, and Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Well-being of humanity
His Holiness noted that global warming has been getting worse for decades. His homeland of Tibet—which the Chinese government forced him to flee more than 60 years ago as it annexed the country—is warming nearly three times faster than the global average, thanks in part to China’s reckless development policies.
“We should pay more attention about ecology and preserve water resources,” the Dalai Lama said. But, he added, “We really need a concept of oneness of 7 billion human beings. We all live on one planet. Our basic way of life is the same. So according to that reality, no longer emphasis on my nation, my country. Now we should think more of humanity.”
To achieve that, His Holiness recommended education that promotes our shared humanity.
“I think education is a key thing,” he said. “Usually our thinking is short-sighted and narrow-minded: interest for myself and my community, my nation.
“The best way for your interest is to think about the well-being of humanity on this planet,” he said. “That’s the best way to achieve your own happiness since we are part of the human society. All this is very much related with education and a more broad mind, holistic way of thinking.”
Science and Tibetan Buddhism
The Dalai Lama also encouraged focusing on emotional hygiene to complement the achievements that science has made in physical health and hygiene.
“The Indian tradition of training our mind, not just through faith but through reasoning, we can combine with scientists,” said the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since 1959.
As the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness said Buddhism fits with science because it emphasizes logic.
“The Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the Nalanda tradition [out of which Tibetan Buddhism grew], is very much a logical approach,” he said. “So this goes very well with modern science.”
He added that he has been collaborating with scientists for years.
Moral leadership
The Dalai Lama, one of the most admired people on Earth, also criticized the enormous gap between rich and poor.
“I think on a global level, there’s a problem,” he said. “And then different nations also, on the national level, there’s a gap [between] rich and poor. This is not only morally wrong, but practically, long run, it is a source of problems.
“So therefore, we have to pay more attention to a more equal distribution.”
Recently, with coronavirus infections spiking, the Dalai Lama joined other global faith leaders to call on corporations and countries to make sure there’s enough vaccine to reach everyone in the world, calling it a “moral obligation.”
His Holiness also made a financial contribution through his Dalai Lama Trust to the PM-CARES Fund in India to help with the tragic COVID-19 crisis in that country. He described the donation as “a token of our solidarity with fellow Indian brothers and sisters.”
Last week, the Dalai Lama signed a letter with 100 of his fellow Nobel laureates urging a phasing out of fossil fuels. The letter states, “Allowing the continued expansion of this industry is unconscionable.”

China controls the IOC and Olympic sponsors the way it governs its citizens: Through fear

China controls the IOC and Olympic sponsors the way it governs its citizens: Through fear
By Sally Jenkins – 14 April 2021
Noted East Asia scholar Perry Link once called China “the anaconda in the chandelier.” You wouldn’t knowingly let a snake into your home. Yet it got in. Or, rather, Procter & Gamble and other Olympic sponsors let it in. They unlocked your door and allowed it to crawl inside, and now you better check what’s coiled around your phone or that pair of shoes in your closet.
The thought of that snake freezes you, doesn’t it? Well, that’s the point. This is how China insidiously exports its tyranny. And it’s why the West should either pry the 2022 Winter Games away from Beijing or boycott.
The anaconda in the chandelier is the most apt description ever written of how Beijing’s leaders insinuate their power on others. The repressions are subtle at first. You make a small but compromised agreement in the name of commerce or diplomacy or Olympic “engagement” with China. Once in the room, you realize that massive, suffocating constrictor of a snake is coiled overhead, ready to choke the life out of you or your business if you offend. People consequently move very, very gingerly.
“Everyone in its shadow makes his or her large and small adjustments — all quite ‘naturally,’ ” Link wrote.
It used to be that China policed or coerced only its own citizens, induced them into self-censorship and paralysis with this sense of latent but chilling threat. But lately the fat, vague menace somehow has frozen the entire Western world. Everyone engaged with Beijing seems afraid to move a muscle — stifled, unfree, hunch-shouldered and inert — for fear that the snake might move. The IOC and its corporate partners are silent and immobilized to the point of abetting slavery, torture and rape in the Uyghur camps of Xinjiang. They’re facilitating a dangerously aggressive encroachment of the anaconda to our own doorsteps.
It’s time to break that grip.
Beijing’s leaders want to police you, whether you know it or not. President Xi Jinping is on a concerted campaign to transnationalize his autocracy, to undermine the United Nations human rights code and enforce a worldwide gag order over his murderous forced-labor club-whacking despotism, which he very much would like to take into Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. You want to scare the hell out of yourself? Read his 2017 remarks about how China should use Western fractures to go about “reforming and developing the global governance system.” That’s what he’s into — and to whom Olympic sponsors and dozens of other American companies are funneling billions.
This is how the anaconda gets into your light fixture: Major Olympic partner Procter & Gamble, the second-largest advertiser in the world, acts nice for the folks at home during the Winter Games with ad sloganeering such as the “Like A Girl” campaign. Meanwhile, it’s wordless on the subject of Uyghur rapes and forced sterilizations while working with the Chinese on something called “device fingerprinting,” which can evade Apple’s privacy tools to gather your iPhone user data and track you without your assent for the sake of targeting you with ads — and God knows what else.
Here is how the anaconda gets into your phone. To gain entry to the China market in 2014, LinkedIn had to integrate censorship criteria into its messaging. Then there is the WeChat messaging app, which made all of its contents accessible to Chinese authorities.
Here is how far the anaconda has slithered into your good old-fashioned American goods. It turns out that Coca-Cola, another Olympic sponsor, sources sugar from Xinjiang, where Uyghur Muslims are being persecuted and possibly slaughtered. American companies such as Coke disingenuously claim they don’t know whether they are benefiting from forced labor, because no one can audit factories there — any human rights observers who try to visit Xinjiang’s “vocational training centers” get detained.
Despite its professed blank ignorance, Coca-Cola was strangely motivated to try to water down the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, Congress’s bill that would keep American companies from funding torture and slavery whether wittingly or not.
Here’s how the anaconda gets into your T-shirt. The IOC grants a textile contract to a company in the cotton-rich Uyghur region. So the very fabric of Olympic uniforms may be interwoven with modern slaving.
When IOC President Thomas Bach was confronted in March about the possibility that it is colluding in torture and slave-driving, you could almost feel his eye on the anaconda.
“We are not a super world government where the IOC could solve or even address issues” that the United Nations has trouble grappling with, he said. He added bravely, “This is the remit of politics.”
Let’s wave away that fog of foul-smelling coward’s breath to clarify something: Slavery, torture and gagging are not politics. They are atrocities, villainies, crimes.
The IOC long ago left behind mere amorality for active evil. It has become the partner of despots seeking prestige and money laundering on billion-dollar building projects for their cronies. But it’s important to recognize that the Beijing Games are more than the ordinary authoritarian “sportswashing.” Beijing, according to an Amnesty International 2020 study, “is definitely the most influential and assertive illiberal actor currently (re)shaping international norms and standards” around human rights.
Behind new law, the FBI is getting into anti-doping, but not everyone wants the help
It’s said that Olympic boycotts don’t work. Condoleezza Rice went so far as to call Jimmy Carter’s 1980 boycott of the Moscow Games a “feckless” act that did nothing to alter Soviet behavior in Afghanistan and harmed only the athletes. But that view of a boycott takes into account only one side of the equation: the behavior of the host.
What we need to change is our own behavior.
What do you do with an invasive constricting snake? You step the hell away from it, that’s what. You don’t send your most aspirational kids into its maw and ask them to shut up and just breathe shallowly for two weeks while they’re being squeezed by it. Isn’t that the most harmful thing we could possibly do to a Mikaela Shiffrin?
Nothing is going to change China’s behavior. But Western bloc countries and companies that dominate Olympic medal counts have more than enough time to force the IOC to withdraw from Beijing. They should break the IOC’s autocratic handshake and organize a replacement Winter Games in Canada. There would be nothing feckless about such an act. On the contrary, it would be an act of powerful reclamation and self-determination.
Will the Chinese government retaliate? Will the anaconda writhe? You bet. But companies doing business there have been under its constant threat anyway, while the world increasingly recoils at their toadyism. Breaking the Beijing grip is not merely a moral imperative. It’s a matter of powerful self-interest — and of commercial, political and personal self-defense.