Human Rights Watch: Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, and others are expected to step down

BERLIN: Wenzel Michalski, director of Human Rights Watch in Germany, has called on the president of the German International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and other senior officials to resign, for reasons related to the Winter Olympics in program in the Chinese capital, Beijing, next February. China has faced criticism for its treatment of minorities such as Uighurs in Xinjiang and Tibetans, as well as for the repression of the democratic movement in Hong Kong and threats to Taiwan. Wenzel Michalski said on Sunday evening in statements to the radio station “Deutschlandfunk” that a change is needed. “If business has also asked businessmen to condemn human rights abuses in Xinjiang, it should be clear to Mr. Bach and others that their time has come,” added Michalski. “They should step down and leave the stage to a new generation of human rights-conscious officials,” he added. Michalski added that it was time to “break” the power of major sports organizations such as the International Olympic Committee and the International Football Association (FIFA). Thomas Bach defended Beijing’s choice and said that human rights will be taken in consideration on the sidelines of hosting the Winter Olympics, in program from 4th to 20th February. Bach also said the IOC is politically neutral and that the Beijing Winter Olympics have political support, although countries such as the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not send any political officials to participate in the Games. German Foreign Minister Annalena Birbock, as well as Interior Minister Nancy Wieser, whose ministerial portfolio includes sports affairs, announced a few days ago that they would not participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. (Dpa)

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