Hundreds of human rights groups call for action ahead of Beijing Winter Olympics

Over 240 organisations have called for action on human rights abuses in China days before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The statement, whose signatories include Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and ChinaAid, says that the Games are taking place "amid atrocity crimes and other grave human rights violations by the Chinese government".

The organisations are calling on governments to join in a diplomatic boycott of the Games, which start on 4 February in the Chinese capital, but they also urge both athletes and corporate sponsors not to legitimise the abuses taking place.

The statement draws particular attention to the arbitrary detention, torture, and forced labour of millions of Uyghur Muslims.

Other areas of concern include Tibetans, the crackdown on Hong Kong, and violations against independent faith groups, human rights activists, feminists, lawyers and journalists.

CSW's Founder President Mervyn Thomas said there should be more "outrage" about the human rights violations occurring in China.

"CSW welcomes calls for action on human rights ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February," he said.

"These Games are taking place during a period of intense repression of fundamental human rights in the Uyghur Region, Tibet, Hong Kong, and even the very city where the Games will take place.

"Across China, human rights lawyers have been disbarred, banned from leaving the country, detained and tortured, and Christians and other religious communities are facing unprecedented restrictions on their online religious activities even as their physical meeting spaces are shut down."

Last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the "deterioration of human rights in Hong Kong" and calling for "a diplomatic and political boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics".

Mr Mervyn added, "This is not a moment for celebration but a time for outrage and action in the face of these violations.

"We join calls for governments, corporate sponsors and spectators to not only ensure they are not complicit in these abuses and the propaganda used to cover them up, but to take robust action to stand with human rights defenders, victims and survivors."