Tibetan exiles and supporters of Tibetan freedom gathered outside Chinese embassies, Olympic headquarters, and NBC studios to protest the Beijing Winter Olympics, derided by critics as the “Genocide Games” because the event risks validating Communist China’s brutal suppression of minorities like the Tibetans and Uyghur Muslims.
Students for a Free Tibet held a demonstration outside an NBC studio in Connecticut early Friday morning:
As NBC prepares to broadcast the #GenocideGames, we are outside NBC Sports Group in Connecticut. When broadcasters walk into the studio, we want to give them a final reminder not to ignore the human rights of our peoples!#nbc #openingceremony #olympics #beijing2022 pic.twitter.com/odrLsGi8hx
— Students for a Free Tibet (@SFTHQ) February 4, 2022
The group said it spoke to an NBC employee who said, “We all feel terrible but there’s nothing we can do. NBC won’t let us.”
Students for a Free Tibet countered this despairing note by urging NBC to accompany its Olympic broadcasts with “daily coverage of the rights abuses China is trying to cover up.”
Judging by NBC’s obsequious attitude toward the Chinese regime to date, that seems unlikely:
WATCH: @SavannahGuthrie calls a reported Uyghur co-lighting the Olympic flame, chosen by Xi Jinping, “an in-your-face response to those Western nations, including the U.S., who have called this Chinese treatment of that group genocide and diplomatically boycotted these games.” pic.twitter.com/NBRtIOROJt
— Jackson Richman (@jacksonrichman) February 4, 2022
Hundreds of Tibetan exiles demonstrated outside the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, India, on Friday, holding signs that read “No Rights, No Games” and “Say No to Genocide Games.”
“The Olympic Games symbolize the spirit of love and peace, but this time they are being hosted by Beijing, which is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Tibetans and human rights violations of millions of people,” Tibetan Youth Congress General Secretary Sonam Tsering said at the demonstration.
Police reportedly detained some of the New Delhi protesters after they tried to vault over security barriers and run onto the grounds of the Chinese embassy.
India has a sizable Tibetan community, as the Dalai Lama took refuge there after fleeing Tibet in 1959 and India borders Tibet.
India is ripe for Olympic protests after China tapped a soldier who fought against Indian troops in the notorious Galwan Valley brawl of 2020 to carry the Olympic torch. The angry Indian government withdrew its top embassy official from the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Games to protest the insult, but did not withdraw its sole athlete from the Games.
Coincidentally, an Australian newspaper published a report this week claiming to prove China lost 38 troops from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the Galwan clash, not the four casualties Beijing has officially admitted to. According to the report, some of the Chinese soldiers died while trying to cross a “fast-flowing, sub-zero river in darkness.”
In yet another protest, about five hundred Tibetan demonstrators marched outside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday.
The procession was led by artist and musician Loten Namling, a 32-year resident of Switzerland, who wore skis painted with the word “Freedom” and dragged a Chinese flag behind him.
Am Tag vor der Eröffnungsfeier in Peking demonstrierte in Lausanne vor dem Hauptsitz des IOC eine andere Gruppe Menschen, die von China unterdrückt wird: die Tibeter. Dabei war auch der bekannte Musiker und Exiltibeter Loten Namling. #Bejing2022 pic.twitter.com/wErk4irtFB
— Simon Häring (@_shaering) February 4, 2022
“The reason why I’m dragging the Chinese flag is China destroyed my country. China destroyed my culture. Let them realize how painful it is for us,” Namling said.
“Never, ever should they give the Olympics to mass murderers and dictators. It’s time to say stop,” he urged.
Among his other artistic endeavors, Namling fronts a rock band called Porok Karpo whose songs support Tibet and the Dalai Lama. (According to Namling, the band was the Dalai Lama’s idea. The other members are Swiss musicians who were captivated by Namling’s vision of Tibetan folk pop-rock fusion.) Namling considers it a badge of honor that his music was banned in Tibet by the Chinese government.
Namling’s fellow protesters on Thursday brandished slogans such as “No More Bloody Games” and a cartoon that showed a skier confronting a tank that used the Olympic rings for wheels, a callback to the famous “Tank Man” photo from the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
A few student activists got out over their skis (figuratively speaking, as Namling was the only one actually wearing skis) and hung a banner reading “No Beijing 2022” from the roof of the IOC building.
“The Chinese communist regime is empowered and they feel this kind of Games legitimizes their right to crack down on the human rights of the people under them. We condemn the IOC and the sponsors for making this happen,” said protest organizer Karma Choekyi, president of Switzerland’s Tibetan community.
Another Tibetan community leader, Karma Thinlay from France, said it was “inexplicable” for the IOC to give the Olympics to China, especially since the brutal regime already hosted the 2008 Summer Games.
“The goal of the IOC is to build a better world through sport. Unfortunately it’s not the case at all,” Thinlay said.
“Is business, is the Olympics more important than people’s lives? If we Tibetans are not human beings for you, then do it,” another demonstrator pitched in.
A smaller demonstration was held outside the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles, receiving little media coverage beyond a brief mention by Agence France-Presse (AFP), even though L.A. is a major media hub.
“I don’t want that the human rights violations, the torture in Tibet, Hong Kong, against the Uyghurs, gets minimised with this Olympic Games. We don’t want to remain silent in the face of the oppression of the regime,” Kevin Young of Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet said at the Los Angeles event.
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.