Foreign Athletes Have Been Warned About Political Speeches During Upcoming Olympics

Chinese authorities have warned Olympic athletes not to speak out about China’s many human rights violations, including genocide against Uyghurs.

In a news conference Tuesday, Yang Shu, deputy director of international relations for the Beijing Organizing Committee, stated that any expression that is against the Olympic spirit, especially the Chinese laws and regulations, will be punished. “Any speech or behavior that is contrary to the Olympic spirit, particularly the Chinese laws, and regulations are subject to certain punishments.”

China’s rule formulation appeared to be slightly more restrictive than that of the IOC, which raises questions about Beijing’s plans for how it will interpret and enforce it. Rule 50 of IOC charter prohibits “demonstration, political, religious, or racial propagandism” at Olympic venues. Yang stated Tuesday that speech could lead to sanctions and cited Chinese law which is more restrictive than many other countries.

Beijing issued the warning amid discussions in the West about the expected political restrictions and surveillance at next month’s Games. Human Rights Watch hosted a seminar Tuesday where speakers advised athletes not to criticize China’s human rights record while they are in Beijing, according to Reuters.

Yang declined to give details about the maximum punishment for athletes who violate China’s strict censorship rules. It’s unlikely that the Chinese government would send athletes to prison if they make a public statement against Chinese human rights abuses. An athlete who violates Beijing’s strict criminal code could be subject to severe punishment before being allowed to leave China.

One concern for western nations is the Chinese Communists’ attempt to spy on athletes.

Citizen Lab, a Canadian cybersecurity research organization, reported Tuesday the security flaws in the app for health-tracking smartphones that Olympic attendees must download. This made the personal data of users vulnerable. Citizen Lab’s report stated that the app’s code contained a list of keywords and a feature that allowed users to report content “politically sensitive”.

At Tuesday’s news conference, a representative from Beijing Organizing Committee stated that they had not heard of the political keyword list but would investigate the matter. Officials were working to fix any security holes in the app.

This raises the question: Why are the games being held in a country that has been accused by 12 countries of genocide? It is absurd to think that the Olympic Games are “above politics”. This has not been true in the 125 years since the first Olympics were held. It is a continuing sham that only liberals believe fosters “international peace.”

For 100 years, the international Olympic movement has been all about Benjamins. The Olympics’ shadowy, wealthy old men have found a way to maximize corporate profits while monetizing glory. Tens of billions of dollars are earned by rights to broadcast and use Olympic branding.