Activists demanding NBC not to broadcast the 2022 Beijing Olympics, outside NBC Headquarters in Massachusetts. Photo: File

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Geneva, Switzerland — A month ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, activists around the world held protests and demonstrations as part of a joint global day of action. They called for a boycott of the Games, urging world leaders and governments not to send their diplomats and officials to the Games.

On January 4, 2021, members of the Tibetan community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein gathered outside the UN Human Rights Council to protest against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which are due to start next month. The activists raised slogans such as "Save Tibet,” “boycott Beijing Olympics 2022", "Stop the genocide in Tibet".

A similar demonstration also took place in Germany, where members of the Tibetan Association in Germany and Tibet Initiative Deutschland marched from Brandenburger to the German Foreign Office in Berlin to protest against the Games and call for a diplomatic boycott. They were joined by Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, and overseas Chinese human rights activists.

Addressing the demonstration in Geneva, Ven Thubten Wangchen, a member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile from Europe expressed his concern over China’s ongoing human rights violations. “Beijing does not deserve to host the Olympic games,” he said, urging democratic countries to stand on the right side of history by boycotting the Beijing Olympics.

Kalden Tsomo, UN Advocacy Officer of the Tibet Bureau Geneva addressed the gathering and highlighted the current situation in Tibet. She urged world leaders and all the stakeholders involved to closely monitor and assess the situation in Tibet and all other regions under China’s authoritarian control. She called for democratic countries to place human rights above everything and listen to the voices of the victims of China’s human rights abuses. Furthermore, she urged them to engage with China politically, economically, and diplomatically without disregarding truth, trust and transparency and to do business in a way that does not violate human rights.

Tibetan filmmaker and former political prisoner Dhondup Wangchen was also a part of the gathering. He urged Tibetans in exile to be at the forefront and give the spotlight to the suffering of Tibetans in Tibet under the Chinese Communist Party. He also reiterated his promise to make the voice of Tibetans in Tibet heard. He is currently touring several European countries and calling on the international community to boycott the Beijing Olympics.

Moreover, Karma Choekyi, President of Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Fanny Morel, Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association, Tashi Shitsetsang, President of Tibetan Youth Association in Europe and Tsering Youdon, President of the Tibetan Women’s Organization in Switzerland also addressed the gathering. Sara Kunga Chime, Executive member of the Tibetan Community in Switzerland read out a petition requesting Switzerland for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

Further, Tibetan Youth Congress, Students for a Free Tibet and other organisations organised several demonstrations outside the NBC headquarters in New York, Massachusetts, and DC, demanding them not to broadcast the Genocide Games. They also held Global Day of Action protests in Berlin and Australia, urging the international community to take action.

Similar protests were organised by Tibetan communities in several cities of Europe. The activists demanded a boycott of the Games in front of the European Union office and also marched to the Chinese embassy in Brussels. Demonstrations also took place in Antwerp, Belgium, Brisbane, Australia, Berlin, Germany, Lucerne, Switzerland, and London, England.