Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese activists at home and abroad are appealing to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reject Beijing's bid to host the Winter Olympics in 2022 due to the low level of respect for human rights. The signatories of a petition claim that in the 2008 Summer Olympics, China promised greater openness and freedom of the press, but the situation has become increasingly unsustainable.
The signatories of the petition include the activist Hu Jia, already sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison for having woven a network of friendships among people who are sensitive to human rights; the writer Du Yanlin; blind activist Chen Guangcheng, currently in exile in the US; the human rights lawyer Teng Biao, currently teaching at Harvard.
The petition, in the form of a letter was delivered to the IOC, whose central committee will meet next July 31 in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to decide where to hold the Winter Olympics in 2022. The two candidate cities are Beijing and Almaty (Kazakhstan ).
The signatories recall the arrests of hundreds of lawyers, intolerance of press freedom, violence against Tibetan Buddhists, Muslims in Xinjiang, etc."Rewarding Beijing the Olympics - the letter says - is a contradiction with the purpose of the Olympics, which is to promote a peaceful society that safeguards human dignity".