Olympic Games in the spotlight: why they censor what Alberto Fernández celebrates

At this time, President Alberto Fernández and his entourage are on an Asian tour with meetings with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, within the framework of the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Two of the world’s top political figures without a doubt, but also one of the most questioned. Putin is going through one of the worst moments for his international image, on the verge of war with Ukraine, and facing NATO and the United States.

But with Chinese support: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his American counterpart Antony Blinken and called for “completely abandoning the Cold War mentality” and “refraining from increasing tension” (the Russian president thanked him to Xi for his support). Wang Yi also called on the United States to end “interference” in the Beijing Olympics, referring to the diplomatic boycott imposed by Washington and its allies.

The White House has said it will not send leaders to the Games in protest at the detention of 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslims in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China.

Xi Jinping thus suffers from the boycott of several nations to the Games, in response to the denunciations of international organizations for human rights violations and abuses against the Uyghurs.

The United States pushed the diplomatic sanction to which Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada joined. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, explained that the decision responds to “genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” a semi-desert region in northwestern China that has long been hit by several attacks: the Chinese government has consequently cracked down hard on Uyghurs (a majority Sunni population) and other Muslim ethnic minorities, carrying out mass arrests and sterilizations.

Amnesty International has also launched a campaign to free people imprisoned in China for “expressing political opinions” and “defending human rights” under the slogan “Beijing 2022 throws freedom of expression through hoops”.


Amnesty called on the Olympic movement “not to be complicit in the repression in China”: the IOC has allowed China to evade the human rights supervision that will govern from Paris 2024 (host cities must adhere to the Guiding Principles on Business and United Nations Human Rights), and was not in force in 2015 when China was chosen for these games.

In addition, human rights groups have documented cases of forced labor and torture against Uyghurs. Gulbahar Haitiwaji, who spent two years imprisoned in a “re-education” camp in Xinjiang, recounted the Chinese repression method a week ago: “They dragged my body to hell and my mind to the brink of madness. The process begins by stripping you of your individuality. They take away your name, your clothes, your hair.”

“In the camp, I was not Gulbahar, but number 9. I was forbidden to speak Uyghur, or to pray, and you are forced to repeatedly recite the glories of the Communist Party for 11 hours a day in a windowless classroom. If you fail, you get punished.

So you keep saying the same things over and over until you can’t feel, you can’t think anymore. You lose your sense of time”, he revealed in an interview with The Daily Mail. “One of the agents put a photo under my nose. It was my daughter, Gulhumar, at a rally in Paris, to protest Chinese repression in Xinjiang. The officer pounded his fist on the table. Her daughter is a terrorist,” she recounted.


The French National Assembly described “the violence committed by the authorities of the People’s Republic of China against Uyghurs as constituting crimes against humanity and genocide.” Beijing denounced in response, “a gross interference in the internal affairs” of the Asian country.

Internally, the Xi Jinping government forcibly silences the accusations, applying harsh censorship to local media and social networks, to mark the limits of the discussion within its own territory: if the government ever tried to appease its critics for the games to be a success, today he challenges them.

“Beijing 2022 will not only enhance our confidence by making the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation a reality. It will show a good image of our country and demonstrate our nation’s commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind,” Xi said, ready to give himself a third term as leader.

In contrast to the image of the repressive regime popularized by the West, China wants to proclaim the overwhelming vision of a prosperous nation (as Putin did with the World Cup in 2018) and more secure under the command of Xi, the country’s most powerful leader. from Mao Zedong.

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