Double gold medalist breaks silence on “genocide games”, calls awarding the games to China “terrible” and “extremely irresponsible” 

Sweden’s Nils Van Der Poel on the podium with the gold for men’s 10000m speed skating. Image: Getty.

DHARAMSALA, 18 Feb: Swedish speedskating super has said that awarding the 2022 Winter Olympics to China is “terrible” and “extremely irresponsible” as China blatantly violates human rights.

“I think it is extremely irresponsible to give it to a country that violates human rights as blatantly as the Chinese regime is doing.” Nils van der Poel Poel has told  SportBladet.

“I really think it’s terrible, but I think I shouldn’t say too much about it, because we still have a squad in China,” he has added.

The Swedish speedskater, a double gold medallist at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics has made the remarks after returning to Sweden with gold in both the 5,000 m and 10,000 m speed skating event.

Last month, Human Rights activists have warned Athletes at the Beijing Olympics that they risk being prosecuted if they criticize China.

“The Olympics is a lot, it’s a fantastic sporting event where you unite the world and nations meet. But so did Hitler before invading Poland, and so did Russia before invading Ukraine,” the double gold medalist who set a world record in the 10,000 m event has said.

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing which activists and human rights defenders alike have declared “genocide games” opened on 4 Feb and will run till 20 Feb. 

Additionally, The US along with several other countries including Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands, have already declared that China is committing genocide and crimes by targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups as they stated that as many as 2 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China placed under detention centres.

Though China maintains that the detention camps equipped with a high-tech network of surveillance systems are necessary to counter Islamic extremism, Uighur expert Professor Rachel Harris from School of Arts at SOAS, University of London argues that the huge numbers involved, and the detention of many Uyghur cultural leaders – writers and poets, academics and publishers, singers and comedians – suggest that the camps are designed to eradicate local languages and cultures to remould the region’s peoples as secular and patriotic Chinese citizens.

At least ten countries have announced the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 games including the US, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Canada, Japan, Denmark, the Netherland and India. 

Besides,  the Olympic and Paralympic Committee of countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Dutch and Australia have all reportedly issued similar advice to their  “athletes, coaches and staff to refrain from using their personal electronic devices while in China due to surveillance concerns, and use ‘burner’ phones rather than their cellphones.”

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