Tibetan, Uyghur, and Hong Kong activists are meeting with Olympic athletes at the final qualifying events for the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics to talk about China’s human rights abuses, Students for a Free Tibet said Saturday.
One of the athletes who took time to speak with the activists was snowboard champion Shaun White.
Students for a Free Tibet is among the groups campaigning for a boycott of the Winter Olympics, which it and other human rights campaigners are calling the “Genocide Games” to condemn China’s persecution of the Uyghur Muslims.
The group posted an open letter to American athletes last week, asking them to consider that the Chinese Communist Party is “responsible for some of the worst human rights atrocities of our generation,” including “the genocide of Uyghurs, the coerced separation of an estimated one million Tibetan children from their parents through 21st-century residential schools, and the severe crackdown on democracy and press freedom in Hong Kong.”
The letter asked athletes to join a “completely private and closed-door discussion” about human rights abuses in China.
“We, the undersigned, believe that every single person in the world holds the responsibility to draw a red line at genocide,” Students for a Free Tibet declared.
On Saturday, the group wrote a Facebook post thanking Shaun White for meeting with them. White posed for a photo with a group member holding a Tibetan independence flag after she told him she “could be jailed indefinitely, tortured, and even killed” if she dared to display the flag in Chinese-controlled Tibet.
Students for a Free Tibet on Twitter: “Sonamtso, former SFT Campaigns Director, had the opportunity to meet @shaunwhite. The first thing she told him is how much this flag means to her. In Tibet, if she walked up to an Olympic athlete with the Tibetan flag, she could be jailed indefinitely, tortured, and even killed. pic.twitter.com/DGYtBHQdxZ / Twitter”
Sonamtso, former SFT Campaigns Director, had the opportunity to meet @shaunwhite. The first thing she told him is how much this flag means to her. In Tibet, if she walked up to an Olympic athlete with the Tibetan flag, she could be jailed indefinitely, tortured, and even killed. pic.twitter.com/DGYtBHQdxZ
Students for a Free Tibet gave copies of their letter asking for a meeting on China’s human rights abuses to White and other aspiring Olympians at the final trials, including freestyle skier Hanna Faulhaber and freestyle skiing medalists David Wise and Brita Sigourney.
White, incidentally, left the trials at Mammoth Mountain, California, with his Olympic status uncertain, having sustained an ankle injury. White also said he contracted the Wuhan coronavirus in December but has since recovered.
Snowboarding enthusiasts say White is such a powerful figure in the sport that he is likely to overcome his injury and qualify. Faulhaber, Wise, and Sigourney all secured their spots in the 2022 Winter Games during the trials.