The German branch of Human Rights Watch called on Monday for the departure of German Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. This call comes just a month before the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
According to Human Rights Watch director Wenzel Michalsky, it is time for Bach, like other top officials in the Olympic movement, to resign. Michalsky believes the IOC is indifferent to the Chinese state’s persecution of Uyghurs and Tibetans and repression in Hong Kong.
“Even if companies demand that business expose human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, it should be clear to Bach and the others that their time has come,” Michalsky told German radio. “They should step down and leave the job to a new generation of human rights officials.”
Michalsky added that it was time to “break the strength” of major sports organizations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA, which have been heavily criticized for awarding the World Cup this year to Qatar. “They acted irresponsibly and greedily.”
Bach always defended China’s choice, and said his organization around the Winter Games would pay special attention to human rights in China. In addition, Germany states that the IOC is politically neutral.
The heads of government of countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain have announced that they will not travel to China in protest.
The Winter Games in Beijing begin on February 4 and end on February 20.