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Uyghur community protests Beijing Olympics, CBC airing the games

Protesters called on CBC not to broadcast the Olympics over human rights concerns

CBC News· Posted: Feb 04, 2022

Members of the Uyghur community spoke out against CBC airing the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics during a protest outside CBC Windsor on Riverside Drive on Friday.(Dale Molnar/CBC)

In Windsor, members of the Uyghur Muslim community are protesting the 2022 Beijing Olympics — and CBC for airing the games — over human rights abuses in China.

"Everybody has a right to stand against this genocide," Alim Yuksel, a member of the Uyghur Youth Group of Canada, said at a small protest held outside of CBC Windsor on Friday. "We're strongly against these Games happening in China."

"That's why we're here: to let the public know not to watch these games, and just boycott."

The 2022 Beijing Olympic Games began on Friday.

Yuksel said he would have liked to see the Games held in another country.

"Canada would be a perfect country to hold the winter Olympics," he said. "The [International Olympic Committee] had plenty of time to ... shift these Games to another country, but they failed to do that."

Yuksel, who's of Uyghur descent, said while he came to Canada 22 years ago, he has an uncle who was detained in China for 15 years, and he's lost contact with other relatives who remain in the country.

"Our kids who were born in Canada don't even know that they have grandparents and great grandfathers and relatives," he said. "It's really sad."

Anwar Abdurahman said he too has relatives who've been detained.

"I want the Canadian government to stand up against this tyranny," he said. "Money and business shouldn't be on top of human rights."

In February 2021, the House of Commons passed a motion declaring China's treatment of Uyghurs a genocide.

In December, the Canadian government announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. No government officials will attend the event.

China, in response, called the boycott a "farce" and denied any human rights violations.

Sinan Yasarlar of the Windsor Islamic Association said China "doesn't deserve" to host the Olympics.

"They have the worst human rights record, according to the United Nations, in the world, from Tibet to Hong Kong to their own people, and to East Turkestan," he said. "We should not allow nations like China to host the Olympic games."

"There were many options, but the IOC went after the money, and I believe it's humanity before money."

Leon Mar, CBC's director of media relations and issues management, said the public broadcaster remains concerned about human rights issues in China.

"We continue to shine a light on these issues in our coverage of the country. (See, for example, this recent story: Uyghur activist urges Olympians to put pressure on China with podium gesture)." "At the same time, we have a contractual agreement with the International Committee to present the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 in Canada. Our coverage of elite amateur Canadian athletes, from local competitions through to the Olympics, supports their careers and amateur sport in Canada."


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