A Chinese official in charge of international relations for the upcoming Genocide Games in Beijing said that athletes criticizing China would be punished for speaking out.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Yang Shu, the deputy director-general of Beijing 2022’s International Relations Department, delivered an ominous warning that Olympians who “violate the Olympic spirit” will be punished by Chinese authorities.
“Any expression that is in line with the Olympic spirit I’m sure will be protected and anything and any behaviour or speeches that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment,” Yang said according to Reuters.
A security personnel walk in front of a picture of Bing Dwen Dwen, a mascot of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games and the Olympic Rings, at the Wukesong Sports Centre, the venue for the ice hockey competition, in Beijing on January 18, 2022. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)
According to the International Olympic Committee, rule 50 purports to prevent political protests, saying, “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites.”
The rule clearly hasn’t stopped any number of left-wing athletes from protesting against the United States. But it appears that China intends to hold the Olympians strictly to rule 50.
Still, the IOC has also said that they will protect the freedom of speech of their athletes. It is unknown how that promise and China’s intention to strictly enforce rule 50 will coexist.
A worker decorates installations of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games and Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games along a street in Beijing on January 17, 2022. (Photo by WANG Zhao / AFP) (Photo by WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images)
Shu’s warning about punishing athletes for speaking out about China’s human rights abuses comes on the heels of the athletic delegations of several countries — including the United States, Britain, Japan, and Australia — telling their athletes to leave personal electronic devices home and to use only temporary burner devices while competing in Beijing as an effort to thwart China’s spying.
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