International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates said questioning China’s human rights as Beijing prepares to host the 2022 Winter Olympics is not within his organization’s jurisdiction.
There has been widespread criticism of Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, which rights groups say constitutes genocide, as well as its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong and its policies towards Tibet and Taiwan.
Coates, who is also president of the Australian Olympic Committee, said while human rights are an important part of the basic principles of the Olympics, the IOC must respect the sovereignty of the host country.
“We don’t have the ability to go to a country and tell them what to do,” he said, because the IOC is not a world government.
“The job of the IOC is to ensure that there are no human rights violations in connection with the conduct of the Olympics within the National Olympic Committee, or within the Olympic movement,” Coates told the National Press Club journalists’ organization in the Australian capital, Canberra, Wednesday (13/10).
“We have to respect the sovereignty of the countries that host the Olympics,” Coates said. “The job of the IOC is to protect Olympic athletes and those involved in the Olympics. That is our responsibility. ”
The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20, while the Paralympics, which are being held afterwards, are from March 4 to 13.
The Chinese capital once hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. [ab/uh]