Former Tibetan political prisoner and filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen in Lausanne, Switzerland. Photo: File

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Lausanne — "When China was awarded the 2008 Olympics, the IOC promised that there will be freedom of press and freedom of speech during the Games. We believed the IOC. So, after discussing with many people, we made the film, “Leaving Fear Behind”. As a result, I was imprisoned for six years and three months and I wasn’t able to be with my family for ten years," said Dhondup Wangchen, while urging governments to boycott the Beijing Olympics and calling on the IOC to respect human rights.

On January 4, 2022, this year's Global Day of Action, Dhondup Wangchen participated in a banner action organised by the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, to mark the one-month countdown to the Beijing Olympic Game.

On the Global Day of Action, Wangchen made a statement against the IOC's decision to allow Beijing to host the Olympic Games again and he said, “When China was awarded the 2008 Olympics, the IOC promised that there will be freedom of press and freedom of speech during the Games. We believed the IOC. So, after discussing with many people, we made the film, “Leaving Fear Behind”. As a result, I was imprisoned for six years and three months and I wasn’t able to be with my family for ten years”.

“China has once again been awarded to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Millions of people have been disappointed by this decision. Likewise, the situation inside Tibet becomes more restrictive and pressing each day. Many people are getting arrested,” he added.

“I have been traveling throughout Europe since November 2021 to help spread awareness about the Tibetan plight in Europe, I have had the opportunity to meet with many government representatives and decision-makers and raise the issue of human rights and urgent matters inside Tibet,” Wangchen explained.

“Further, I asked governments to not participate in the Games. Also, I have met with representatives of the National Olympic Committees (NOC) and raised the urgent human rights situation inside Tibet and China in general. China has no rights to host the Winter Olympics in Beijing, so I asked them to withdraw their participation. If they can’t withdraw, then the Games should be moved to another location. Many NOC representatives have refused to meet me which is disappointing. But regardless, I was able to hand in a letter of appeal to those NOC offices,” the former Tibetan political prisoner said.

“Today is the 4th of January, 2022, and actions are taking place all around the world, organized by various organizations and people, protesting because China doesn’t have the right to host the Games. Likewise, I am here in Lausanne, Switzerland to take part in this action,” the Tibetan filmmaker said.

“Lastly, I appeal to the IOC to not act like a representative of the CCP as well as uphold the Olympic oath and most importantly respect human rights,” Wangchen concluded.

The protests outside the Olympic Museum are part of the #NoBeijing2022 movement, which has become a global initiative and has urged governments, leaders, and especially international athletes to become aware of and speak out on the Uighur genocide, the brutal occupation of Tibet and China's suppression of democracy in Hong Kong.

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