Human Rights Watch (HRW), a human rights organization known for its anti-Israel bias, hosted a seminar Tuesday in which athletes traveling to China for the Winter Olympics were advised to stay quiet about human rights issues while in the country.
Jan 18 (Reuters) – Athletes travelling to next month’s Beijing Olympics were warned on Tuesday about speaking up on human rights issues while in China for their own safety by speakers at a seminar hosted by Human Rights Watch.
“There’s really not much protection that we believe is going to be afforded to athletes,” Rob Koehler, the director general of the Global Athlete group, said in the seminar. “Silence is complicity and that’s why we have concerns.
“So we’re advising athletes not to speak up. We want them to compete and use their voice when they get home.”
“Chinese laws are very vague on the crimes that can be used to prosecute people’s free speech,” Human Rights Watch researcher Yaqiu Wang said.
“People can be charged with picking quarrels or provoking trouble. There are all kinds of crimes that can be levelled at peaceful, critical comments.”
"There's really not much protection that we believe is going to be afforded to athletes. Silence (by the IOC) is complicity and that's why we have concerns. So we're advising athletes not to speak up. We want them to compete and use their voice when they get home." @RobKoehler2
— Global Athlete (@GlobalAthleteHQ) January 18, 2022
It might have seemed otherwise — that the Olympics would provide a unique opportunity to criticize China, because it would be more difficult to deport or detain an Olympic athlete, and harder to hide such criticism from a domestic Chinese audience.
Human Rights Watch is vocal and one-sided in its criticism on Israel, and is considered to have discredited itself on the subject by mainstream Jewish groups. The American Jewish Committee considers it a “once reputable watchdog group.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.