“We are not a super-world government,” IOC President Thomas Bach said recently.
China’s foreign ministry has criticized “the politicization of sports” and has said any boycott is “doomed to failure.” China has denied accusations of genocide against the Uyghur people.
A recent U.S. State Department report stated explicitly that “genocide and crimes against humanity” have taken place in the past year against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities in the western region of Xinjiang.
Tethong said she knows some athletes may be opposed. But she said others, who gained traction from Black Lives Matter movement, may become allies. She acknowledged this as a “gloves-off” moment.
“There are obviously a lot of people who are concerned about the athletes and their lifelong work,” Tethong said. “But in the end it’s the IOC that has put them in this position and should be held accountable.”
American skier Mikaela Shiffrin, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, spelled out the dilemma for athletes in a recent interview on CNN.
“You certainly don’t want to be put in the position of having to choose between human rights like morality versus being able to do your job,” she said.
Tethong suggested coalition members might lobby the, American network NBC, which generates about 40% of all IOC revenue, sports federations, civil society groups “and anyone that will listen.”