IOC’s Juan Antonio Samaranch says Beijing Games about unity

Subsequent 12 months’s Beijing Video games have triggered protests over China’s human rights report, however the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s level man for the occasion, Juan Antonio Samaranch, stated the occasion is about bringing younger folks collectively.

Samaranch, the top of the coordination fee for the Beijing Olympics, which begin Feb. 4, stated the Video games have been solely about unity.

Regardless of his statement, human rights activists protested in Athens on Sunday forward of Monday’s torch-lighting ceremony for the Video games in historical Olympia.

Two of the activists, who unfurled a Tibetan flag and a banner studying “Free Hong Kong – Revolution” from Athens’ Acropolis, have been arrested on Sunday morning.

The IOC can also be dealing with criticism for awarding China two Olympics — the 2008 Summer time Video games in addition to subsequent 12 months’s winter version — with human rights teams saying no enhancements have been made for the reason that 2008 Video games.

“All people has the fitting, is entitled to their concepts, their positions and their ideas,” Samaranch, who’s the son of the previous IOC president with the identical title, informed Reuters in an interview in historical Olympia on Sunday.

“We can not touch upon these protests. There have been some protests at this time in Athens. We’re right here in historical Olympia for an important factor, getting all people collectively.

“Tomorrow with the lighting of the Olympic fireplace, it’s the begin of this gathering. Individuals would possibly agree or disagree on numerous issues however the Olympics are about making an attempt to unite all people.”

The Chinese language capital will turn into the primary metropolis to host each the Winter and Summer time Video games when it phases the occasion from Feb. 4 to twenty, however, as was the case with the 2008 Beijing Olympics, protests and requires boycotts over China’s human rights report have marred the run-up.

Rights teams and a few U.S. lawmakers have known as on the IOC to relocate the occasion until China ends what the USA deems ongoing genocide in opposition to Uyghurs and different Muslim minority teams.

Chinese language authorities have been accused of facilitating pressured labor by detaining round 1,000,000 Uyghurs and different primarily Muslim minorities in camps since 2016. China denies wrongdoing, saying it has arrange vocational coaching facilities to fight extremism.

Aside from protests, organizers are additionally coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, not like this 12 months’s rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Video games, which banned all followers because of the pandemic, native followers will likely be allowed to attend the Beijing Olympics.

Samaranch stated whereas China had additionally banned worldwide guests from attending the Video games, he nonetheless hoped to have a lot of overseas followers within the venues in February, so long as they’re residents of China.

“Native spectators will likely be on the stands,” he stated. “Native means not solely Chinese language, it means even a number of worldwide residents that may cheer for his or her dwelling groups.”

“We’ve the settlement with the organizing committee that it could be one thing fascinating to have extra inner flags, extra number of spectators, and we’re working very a lot in that line.”

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