IS BEIJING QUALIFIED TO HOST 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS?
Although defined as a sports festival emblematic of international peace and amity, the Olympic Games have almost always been highly manipulated by money and politics. That is why democracies around the world must be wary of schemes by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to use the winter Games in Beijing next February to expand its influence.
Preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, postponed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic until July this year, have resumed after Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto assumed the post of president of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee on February 18, replacing Yoshiro Mori six days after he resigned amid a firestorm of criticism about his remarks disparaging women. His remarks contradicted the Olympic Charter’s commitment to gender equality in sports.
Mori’s comments were inappropriate by any standard and he rightly apologized and resigned. But looking a bit further down the road, it is important to see the international reaction to this incident in the context of the upcoming Beijing Olympics. The Chinese government has committed crimes against humanity far overshadowing the nature of Mori’s gaffe, and it will now seek to lessen the focus on those crimes and solidify its position as a credible leader of the global community on the strength of a successful Olympics.
The Chinese government is putting more than one million Muslim Uyghers in Xinjiang under strict surveillance, depriving them of their freedom and ethnic identity in every respect—religion, education, language, and culture. Uyghur women are reportedly coerced out of reeducation centers almost nightly to be gang-raped by Chinese soldiers. More than just a few Uyghers of both sexes are subject to forced sterilization, living in a hell on earth under the CCP’s ruthless ethnic cleansing program.
The Communist government will readily reject outright what I’ve just written. They will additionally declare that matters relating to the Uyghers and other ethnic minorities in China are strictly domestic affairs that no foreign governments or foreign nationals should meddle in. The Chinese will also have ostensible outsiders write reports lauding their government’s policies toward the Uyghers.
In the mid-1930s, Mao Zedong got American journalist Edgar Snow on his side, and had him write a book which painted the CCP as an ideal political party. This time, China’s Xinhua national news agency is pulling the strings from behind the curtain in Paris. On February 18, Xinhua dispatched an interview with a French writer/journalist, who claims to have “visited Xinjiang twice and uncovered lies” about the reality of the autonomous region, which is home to Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Mongols.
China’s Crimes Against Humanity
Journalist Maxime Vivas was quoted as describing the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as “progressing very quickly,” denying reports about the alleged genocide as “lies.” The interview was sprinkled with an assortment of words and phrases matching the expectations of the Chinese leadership. Times have changed, but the fundamental Chinese strategy obviously hasn’t. I could not help but feel a strange sense of déjà vu.
Japanese cartoonist Tomomi Shimizu and Mongolian-born Yang Hai-ying, a professor at Shizuoka University, have co-authored Fatal Testimonies (WAC Publishing, Tokyo; January 2021), in which they depicted the fierce Chinese crackdown of the Muslim Uyghers in China, detailing how many of their women have been raped and murdered. The book has been translated into 14 languages. Shimizu is expected shortly to publish a book on the plight of the Mongols in China.
The United States Congress recently published a report expounding on the CCP’S savage suppression of minorities in China, with the two parties sharing knowledge about the horrific reality minorities are faced with. During the transition of power in January, both Republican and Democratic Parties shared the recognition that the CCP’s treatment of the Uyghurs is none other than genocide—a crime against humanity with no statute of limitations. The US has pledged to deal sternly with the situation.
In a Fox news interview on February 16, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo equated the Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Games in Berlin hosted by Nazi Germany, vowing that he will call on the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the Biden administration to move the games out of China. On January 22, seven Republican senators introduced a similar resolution, citing China’s poor human rights record.
We must grapple squarely with the CCP’s essence and ask ourselves whether the Beijing government is qualified to host the Games despite its gross human rights violations. Japan has not been alone among the members of the international community in misreading the CCP’s atrocious nature. At the time of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the world turned a blind eye to the CCP’s brutal suppression of Tibetans. Many Tibetans resorted to self-immolation—undoubtedly the most excruciating form of suicide—in a desperate attempt to inform the world of the atrocities the CCP had committed against them. And yet we chose to participate in the Games then. The world should not commit the same mistake again.
On June 4, 1989, when the Beijing government murdered hundreds of students and citizens in Tiananmen Square, Japan was especially reluctant to sanction China. The US was virtually in the same boat. About a month after the incident, President Bush Sr secretly sent his national security advisor Brent Scowcroft to Beijing for consultations with Deng Xiaoping in an effort to support the CCP. The Chinese must have been sneering at the series of passive responses from the rest of the world. The proof is in how China to this day has steadily continued to oppress its own people.
In order to safeguard its one-party dictatorship, the CCP never stops—and likely never will—its bloody suppression of many of its own citizens. This includes Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongols, and even Han Chinese like Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo—anyone who stands against the one-party dictatorship. Otherwise, it will never be able to maintain its system of government. There also is the danger of Taiwan being put under full Chinese control in due time. Even Okinawa cannot be excluded from this threat. There is no shortage of the examples of crimes against humanity China has committed.
Winter Olympics Must Be Moved out of Beijing
Despite these facts, Japan and other members of the international community prefer to pursue immediate profits, dazzled by the gigantic Chinese market. Enchanted by China’s profound history and civilization, we misinterpret China’s true nature more often than not, unable to raise objections to the horrors of the communist administration marked by dictatorship, despotism, cruelty, and violations of international law. I feel strongly that we must hold ourselves significantly accountable for the situation in China today, because we have basically remained silent when we should have spoken up against the tyranny.
That is all the more reason for us to ask ourselves the following questions: Do we want the world to be tainted with Chinese imperialism? Do we want to see democracy die by giving in to China’s suppression of human rights? And, do we want to see the existing world order undergo a sea change by allowing international law to be replaced by the law of a Chinese empire? If we continue to accept China’s words and deeds as we have in the past, the entire world will one day be completely brought under Chinese control.
I am certain that most of us would not want to see that happen. Imperfect though our current democracy may be, the global society would be much happier under a democratic system. As matters stand now, democracy is the only means of sustaining international law, human rights, and the freedom and dignity of all people—regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. Under a Chinese empire, we would all find ourselves abandoned and alienated from a state of happiness.
President Biden has publicly pledged to host a global summit for democracy this year, which I take as America’s declaration to open a war of values against China. Japan is readying itself for closer cooperation with the US as it sees its vital Pacific ally earnestly trying to position itself in opposition to China’s sinister one-party dictatorship.
The nonpartisan Parliamentarian League on China has insisted on the importance of a probe into the alleged genocide in China. The Japan-Uygher Parliamentarian League of the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party chaired by Keiji Furuya is slated to be soon reorganized into a nonpartisan entity. While counting on both leagues, I feel strongly that Japanese must first and foremost appeal to the world to join in a campaign to move the 2022 Winter Olympics out of Beijing. It is important for Japan to raise its voice as a big power in Asian while working closely with the US on this issue in an explicit form. In this fierce battle of values, giving in to China again even to the slightest extent will mean losing the way to a stronger position for democracy around the world.
(Translated from “Renaissance Japan” column no. 940 in the March 4, 2021 issue of The Weekly Shincho)