Human Rights Group Comes Up with Epic Way to Shame NBC Over Coverage of Beijing Winter Olympics


The Beijing Winter Olympics — the most contentious Olympiad in recent history — is set to kick off on Friday.

NBC, which televises the games in the United States, would prefer you focus on the athletes and the sports as opposed to the country the competition is taking place in. The Committee For Freedom In Hong Kong, however, is going to do their best to shift the focus where it belongs.

According to the Daily Caller, the CFHK took their message to NBC headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City on Tuesday, where they projected messages promoting democracy in Hong Kong and slamming the Chinese Communist Party.

“NBC Profits From Chinese Oppression,” one message read. “Over 10,000 Political Prisoners in Hong Kong,” read another.

These are messages you aren’t likely to hear during any of the Olympic telecasts — but CFHK and other groups are going to do their best to make them heard. Here at The Western Journal, we’re going to be amplifying these voices as China tries to drown them out. You can help us in our fight by subscribing.

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The group didn’t just target NBC. Their messages were also projected on the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Tower Bridge in London.

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“President Xi: We sent you a message in bright lights on your embassy’s walls in #WashingtonDC. We want you to know that the world is watching: It’s time to stop the crackdown on #HongKong & free the 10,000+ arrested on political charges,” the group said in a tweet, which showed the message projected on the side of the embassy.

“Free Jimmy Lai and the Apple 7,” the message on the side of the Tower Bridge read.

Pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai is the owner of Apple Daily, a Taiwanese-based publication which had its Hong Kong offices raided in August of 2020 by police under a national security law imposed upon the semi-autonomous former British colony by Beijing, according to CNN.

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Last May, Reuters reported, Chinese authorities sentenced Lai to 14 months in prison on top of 14 months he was already serving.

In addition to the messages, CFHK also projected pictures of yellow umbrellas — the symbol used by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

“The images and slogans highlighted the hypocrisy of China hosting the Winter Olympic Games, which are supposed to promote unity, equality and respect,” CFHK said in a statement.

“Meanwhile, the Chinese Government is currently committing crimes against humanity and genocide in the region of Xinjiang, enforcing harsh crackdowns on human rights defenders and people perceived to be dissidents in Hong Kong, as well as the systematic repression of ethnic minorities. The international community must not endorse China’s sportswashing.”

“Just as the International Olympic Committee has failed to stand up to China for their behavior, so have the international sponsors of the Games,” said CHFK President Mark L. Clifford in a statement. “Household names such as Coca-Cola, AirBnb, Samsung and Visa who follow their own ESG values and have run equality campaigns are sponsoring what many have labeled as the Genocide Games.

“As the Beijing Winter Olympics start on Friday, the world will be watching China and its actions both during and after.”

America should also be watching NBC for how it acts both during and after the Olympics, too.

The network has been pressed about how it plans to handle coverage of China’s human rights abuses and oppression of dissent. Last month, the network said they would add “geopolitical context” about China to their coverage, but the athletes would remain the “centerpiece of our coverage,” according to Reuters.

Molly Solomon, executive producer and president of NBC Olympics Production, said NBC News’ Beijing bureau would cover news from China while the Olympics division “will cover the issues that impact the Games as needed,” not particularly hopeful words if you wanted truth to be spoken to power.

“We are going to be focusing on telling the stories of Team USA and covering the competition,” Solomon said.

“We understand that there are some difficult issues regarding the host nation, so our coverage will provide perspective on China’s place in the world and the geopolitical context in which these Games are being held. But the athletes do remain the centerpiece of our coverage.”

Because, of course, that’s how NBCUniversal is going to recoup the $7.65 billion they paid to broadcast the Olympics through 2032, as per Reuters. Oppression, Uyghur genocide, jailed dissidents — that’s not the kind of fun coverage people tune in for. Just like Xi’s regime, they’ll be “sportswashing” China’s crimes through the pageantry of the Games. It’s all about the bobsledding and figure skaters for NBC.

As for the human rights protesters, all they got was a vague promise the network would “cover the issues that impact the Games as needed.” That likely translates to covering them as infrequently as needed.

Yes, there’s oppression in China, but NBC needs to make their investment pay off. They won’t tell you that, of course. That’s what CFHK’s blunt message on the side of 30 Rock was for. If NBC won’t be honest, somebody needs to be.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture