Why Australia won’t ditch Beijing Olympics

Protesters across the world have called for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, but the head of Australia’s Olympic Committee says Aussie athletes should still go.

    The head of Australia’s Olympic Committee has defended the decision to send the nation’s Olympic team to the upcoming winter games in Beijing.

    Ongoing human rights issues with the treatment of Chinese Uyghurs and those who speak out against the Chinese Communist Party have seen Beijing’s hosting of the event come under fire.

    Protesters in Hong Kong along with almost 200 prominent human rights groups have pushed for a boycott of the event from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

    But AOC President John Coates held firm in Australia’s insistence on attending the upcoming games, stating it was not within the Olympic committee’s power to tell other countries how to treat their own people.

    “The IOC’s remit is to ensure that there is no human rights abuses in respect of the conduct of the Games within the National Olympic Committee, or within the Olympic movement,” Mr Coates told the National Press Club on Wednesday.

    “We have no ability to go into a country and tell them what to do.

    “We are not a world government. We have to respect the sovereignty of the countries who are hosting the Games.”

    Last month, the IOC helped around 100 members of the “Olympic community” in Afghanistan flee the country on humanitarian visas after the Taliban took over.

    When asked why the Committee was suddenly willing to help persecuted individuals in this case, Mr Coates said the situation was more Olympian-specific.

    “The work the IOC is doing is to protect the Olympians and those involved in the Olympic moments, those who comprise the sports federation in Afghanistan,” he said.

    “That‘s within our remit. The situations that you have referred to, the humanitarian ones in China, is not within our remit.”

    Mr Coates’s said it was also important for Australia to attend the upcoming winter games due to the significance of the event for the international athlete community.

    “Having athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees and from the IOC Refugee Olympic Team united in competition, living together, exchanging opinions, sharing their life stories and dreams – that really matters,” he said

    “As an Australian, It’s a badge of honour that only Australia and Greece have attended every (Olympic) Games since 1896.”

    The Beijing Winter Olympics are set to begin on February 4, 2022. Australia will send a team of 41 athletes to the event.

    Read related topics:China


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