Human rights groups write IOC to move 2022 Winter Olympics from China

A coalition of human rights groups have sent a joint letter to the International Olympic Committee, calling on the body to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing due to China's record on human rights.

Reuters reports more than 160 advocacy groups — based in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia — signed the missive. The letter referred to "an Orwellian surveillance network" and said "the IOC must recognise (sic) that the Olympic spirit and the reputation of the Olympic Games will suffer further damage if the worsening human rights crisis, across all areas under China’s control, is simply ignored." 

Recently, the country has faced international scrutiny for its polices toward Uighurs in the Xinjiang province and security measures in Hong Kong. The Chinese government's response was to denounce politicizing sports. 

The 2022 Winter Olympics are currently set for Beijing. (Photo: The Associated Press)

"This is against the spirit of the Olympic charter and China firmly opposes it," ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters. 

For Paris' winning 2024 Summer Olympics bid, the IOC included human rights requirements — the first time such standards had been spelled out; the guidelines were not part of the Beijing bid, which was chosen by four votes over Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

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