Diplomat accuses China of using athlete to mask human rights violations

Dinigeer Yilamujiang e Zhao Jiawen, atletas escolhidas para acender a Pira Olímpica.

Dinigeer Yilamujiang and Zhao Jiawen, athletes chosen to light the Olympic cauldron.

| Photo: Yonhap South Korea Out/EFE

Linda Thomas-Greenfield , the US ambassador to the UN, said on Sunday (6) that China’s decision to choose an athlete from the Uighur minority to light the Olympic cauldron for the Winter Games, which are taking place in Beijing, was a distraction.

“This is an effort by the Chinese to distract us from the real issue here, that the Uighurs are being tortured and are victims of human rights violations by the Chinese. We have to keep this in the central focus”, said the diplomat, in an interview with the American broadcaster CNN.

121058924172673This Friday (4th), at the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Games, skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang, of Uighur origin, lit the Olympic cauldron together with fellow skier Zhao Jiawen.

121058924172673The United States States lead a boycott of diplomatic representatives from several western countries in this edition of the multi-sport event, which takes place in Beijing, due to alleged violations of the rights of ethnic minorities in Xiajiang, in central China, which are denied by the local government. “We know that genocide was committed there,” said Thomas-Greenfield.

121058924172673 “It is important that the audience that saw this, understand that it does not take us away from what we know is happening on the territory”, added the ambassador, referring to the spectators of the Opening Ceremony.

On Saturday (5), the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, asked the Chinese authorities to allow a “trustworthy” visit to Xianjiang by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chilean Michelle Bachelet.

The Portuguese diplomat, who is visiting Beijing because of the Winter Olympics, met this Saturday with the President of China, Xi Jinping, and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Asian country, Wang Yi.

Both the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, denounce There are serious abuses taking place in the region, where the Uighurs are said to have suffered mass arrests, torture and forced labor.