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Olympic Committee Becomes Latest Target of Critics of Treatment of Uyghurs

Activist group says IOC has refused to engage with it on human-rights issues in China’s Xinjiang region, including use of forced labor to make apparel

After locking up as many as a million people in camps in Xinjiang, Chinese authorities are destroying Uyghur neighborhoods and purging the region's culture. They say they’re fighting terrorism. Their aim: to engineer a society loyal to Beijing. Photo illustration: Sharon Shi. Video: Clément Bürge

By Stu Woo

Jan. 4, 2022

A human-rights group has called on the International Olympic Committee to explain what steps it has taken to ensure that official apparel for next month’s Beijing Winter Games were made without forced labor, saying previous, private attempts to engage the organization weren’t taken seriously.

The group, the Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region, said Tuesday that the Swiss-based IOC hasn’t offered credible evidence that Olympic-branded apparel was made without forced labor from China’s cotton-farming Xinjiang region. The group has been a leading voice in a global push to raise awareness of allegations of human-rights abuses in the region.

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