'No Genocide Games': Protestors Disrupt 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Flame Lighting

After International Olympic Committee refused to pull up China for its rights abuses in Xinjiang, three protestors broke into the archaeological site where the flame lighting ceremony for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics was being held Monday and ran toward the Temple of Hera holding a banner that read "No genocide games."

Opposition to the Games continues to grow more vocal. The three activists protesting against human rights abuses in China climbed over a fence to enter the grounds and attempted to reach the area where the ceremony was being held, reported The Associated Press. They were thrown to the ground by police and detained.

Protestors disrupt flame lighting for Beijing Winter Games
Some activists protesting human rights abuses in China break into the flame lighting site of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics The Associated Press

"How can Beijing be allowed to host the Olympics given that they are committing a genocide against the Uyghurs?" one protester said as she ran toward the temple.

The Olympic flame for the 2022 Beijing Winter Games was lit in Olympia on Monday in the presence of IOC president Thomas Bach. Following tradition, the flame was lit from the rays of the sun at the ancient Temple of Hera, the cradle of the Ancient Games.

On Sunday, two protesters were detained on the Acropolis in Athens trying to raise a banner to draw attention to human rights abuses in China.

How Does Genocide Fit into the Olympic Brand?

The 2022 Beijing Olympics are scheduled to begin Friday, February 4, and end on Sunday, February 20, just six months after the Tokyo Olympics. This is despite the fact that China is responsible for some of the most heinous human rights violations imaginable: the illegal occupation of Tibet, the mass political crackdown in Hong Kong, the constant threats of war against the sovereign and democratic nation of Taiwan and the ongoing genocide against Uighurs in Xinjiang.

There are various accusations that Beijing rounded up Uighurs, put them in detention camps and did unspeakable horrors to them. There are reports of torture, human experiments, forced sterilization, state-sanctioned rape. Many human rights activists are demanding the boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics as the Games are nothing more than a propaganda weapon for an authoritarian regime.

IOC Says It's None of Their Business

Olympic officials are ignoring China's rights abuses. They say it's not part of their remit. When the IOC's Vice President John Coates was asked about China's human rights violations, he refused to take a stand, claiming that the IOC needs to respect the host country's sovereignty. Apparently, the IOC is willing to look away from an ongoing genocide. Coates said, "We have no ability to go into a country and tell them what do to."

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