CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Questioning China over its human rights record as Beijing prepares to host the Winter Olympics “is not the province” of the International Olympic Committee, said its vice president, John Coates.
In the international community there has been widespread criticism of China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, which according to human rights groups amounts to genocide, in addition to its crackdown on demonstrations in Hong Kong and its policies towards Tibet and Taiwan.
Coates, who is also the president of the Australian Olympic Committee, stated that while human rights are an important part of the fundamental principles of the Olympic movement, the IOC must respect the sovereignty of the host country.
“The IOC’s mission is to ensure that there are no human rights abuses in hosting the Games within the national Olympic Committee or the Olympic movement,” Coates said Wednesday at the National Press Club in Canberra, the Australian capital. we have the capacity to go to a country and tell them what to do ”.
Coates added that the IOC is “a world government.”
“We have to respect the sovereignty of the countries that host the Games,” he explained. “The IOC’s job is to do it to protect the Olympians and all those involved in the Games, that is within our powers.”
The Beijing Winter Games will be held from February 4 to 20, and the Paralympics will be played from March 4 to 13. The Chinese capital already hosted the summer jousts in 2008.