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Athletes censored, ethnic minorities and dissidents persecuted, thanks to Beijing Winter Olympics

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(TibetanReview.net, Feb13’22) – China has not only greatly tightened restrictions in the even normally persecuted ethnic minority regions and on its human rights, environmental, democracy and sundry other types of activists, but has also clamped down on athletes for social media postings it does not like as the Beijing Winter Olympics, which opened on Feb 4, gets underway. 

Katri Lylynpera, a Finnish skier, has said she was ordered by Chinese officials to delete photos she shared on social media showing water flooding the athlete’s village and flowing out of light fixtures at the Winter Olympics. Exposed electrical equipment can also be seen in a number of the photos, reported au.sports.yahoo.com Feb 13.

And the most staggering photo that Lylynpera shared was a screenshot of a message she had received, telling her to remove her posts from social media.

Also, some Finnish athletes were stated to have posted on Twitter and Instagram pictures of Finland’s Olympic athlete dormitory in Beijing experiencing a serious water leakage. “And they were told to delete them by the Chinese authorities,” the report cited a fan site on Reddit as saying.

Lylynpera, 28, who captioned her video “help”, competed in the women’s cross country free sprint last week, but didn’t make it past the qualifying stage.

The incident is just one of a number of embarrassing situations China has found itself in during the Beijing Games, the report noted.

If Tibetans were restricted in their movement and banned from communicating with their exiled fellows, activists in China had been rounded up or put under house arrest. Prominent among them is Hu Jia, who gained international prominence as a champion of human rights in the early 2000s and was a friend to late Nobel Peace Prize winner and dissident Liu Xiaobo. He was put under house arrest, reported edition.cnn.com Feb 11.

The report cited William Nee, research and advocacy coordinator at Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a non-profit network supporting rights advocates in China, as saying that in the run up to the Winter Games there had been an uptick in reports of state security wanting to know people’s whereabouts, house arrests and the detention of high-profile activists and lawyers.

“The point is to prevent any contact between the activists and, essentially, the outside world, which, during these events, tends to pay more attention to what’s happening in China,” Maya Wang, a senior China researcher at the New York-based non-profit Human Rights Watch, has said.

“This might be the only Olympics in history that has drawn so much attention to its host country’s human rights issues. This is a really good opportunity to explore and discover China’s human rights issues, including Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese… and also citizens, human rights activists, and dissidents like us who are in mainland China now,” Hu has said.

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