Thanks for the Genocide Olympics! Chinese University Makes IOC President Honorary Professor

Thomas Bach, IOC President, visits the venue for the 2024 Olympic Qualifier Series held in
AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach received a warm welcome in China this week, attending Chinese Olympic qualifier events and receiving an honorary professorship at the Shanghai University of Sport (SUS).

Bach has long maintained friendly ties with the Chinese Communist Party, failing to leverage his platform at the helm of the Olympic organization to challenge the Communist Party on its long list of human rights abuses, even when they overlap with the world of sport. Under Bach, the IOC’s defense of the Communist Party peaked in 2022, as human rights defenders around the world called for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in recognition of the ongoing genocide of Uyghur people in occupied East Turkistan, the violent repression of political dissidents, and other examples of systematic state violence in the country.

Bach was also instrumental in the defense of China following the disappearance of tennis champion Peng Shuai, who vanished from the public eye after accusing Chinese Olympics official Zhang Gaoli of raping her. She since resurfaced denying her own accusations in early 2022 in an interview supervised by Chinese government officials.

The IOC chief’s appearance in Shanghai occurred in anticipation of the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, expected to begin on July 26. Bach attended Chinese qualifier events in anticipation of Paris 2024 this weekend, the IOC detailed on Monday, watching the competition and meeting with top Chinese business leaders, including representatives from e-commerce giant Alibaba. Bach applauded the city of Shanghai for hosting the qualifiers, which he declared an “electrifying event”:

“It went far beyond our expectations. Shanghai has demonstrated once again its reputation as a city of innovation, also with regard to global sport events,” Bach beamed.

The stop at the Shanghai University of Sport on Sunday was part of his tour, culminating in an honorary professorship.

“You are bringing the Olympic Values of excellence, respect, peace and solidarity to the next generation of athletes, coaches, educators and professionals,” Bach said in his remarks accepting the professorship, referring to the SUS, according to the Chinese state propaganda newspaper Global Times.

The Times reported that, in addition to accepting his award, Bach “visited the China Table Tennis College’s training hall, and the Institute of Olympic Studies and Research,” where he played table tennis against training robots.

The IOC’s close relationship with China has for years tarnished the Olympic organization’s reputation, as IOC leaders defended the Communist Party as a worthy host in 2022. China is currently engaging in a genocide of Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and other ethnic Turkic people in occupied East Turkistan, committed by imprisoning people in concentration camps, enslaving them, and launching mass forced sterilization campaigns. China was also the origin nation of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, which grew out of a local outbreak in the city of Wuhan that Communist Party officials exacerbated by hosting mass “superspreader” events and encouraging Lunar New Year travel.

The IOC ignored years of protests prior to the 2022 Winter Olympics’ first demand that the Games be relocated, then a boycott. It also failed to address China’s sophisticated propaganda campaigns to silence concerned human rights voices. Far from acknowledging the concerns, Bach, the IOC president, took a victory lap in February 2022, addressing officials the night before the Opening Ceremonies in Beijing.

“You may remember that at our IOC Sessions in January and July 2020, we could already see the dark clouds of the growing politicization of sport on the horizon,” Bach recalled on the eve of the Beijing Games. “We also saw that, in some people’s heads, the boycott ghosts of the past were rearing their ugly heads again.” Bach celebrated overcoming the voices concerned with genocide.

On the issue of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, Beijing failed as a host city, as the virus spread rapidly through the Olympic village. On the issue of human rights generally, the Winter Games were not a safe place for neutral reporting on sporting events, as Dutch journalist Sjoerd den Daas found out when Chinese regime thugs hauled him away during a live television broadcast:

The Global Times defended den Daas’s assault as “reasonable and justified.”

The disappearance of Peng Shuai also plagued the Beijing Olympics, as she had vanished in late 2021 and resurfaced as a suddenly zealous admirer of winter sports in early 2022. Shortly before Peng appeared at the Olympics, the IOC published undated photos of a video screen showing Peng and the back of Bach’s head, presented as proof that Peng was safe:

“Since the first call that the IOC held with Peng Shuai on 21 November 2021, the IOC team has kept in touch with her and had a number of conversations with her – the last one just the past week,” the IOC said in a statement in January 2022. “She mentioned again that she is looking forward to a meeting with IOC President Thomas Bach and Emma Terho, the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, to which we had invited her in the first conversation.”

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