Protesters Sabotage Olympic Ceremony with a Strong Message Against Communist Host Country


On Monday, Olympic organizers held the traditional torch lighting ceremony for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which are set to be held in Beijing, China. However, the event was overshadowed by protesters raising concerns about China’s human rights violations.

According to The Washington Post, three protesters sneaked past police and approached the ceremony, which was being held at the Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia, Greece.

One of the protesters held a flag of Tibet, an autonomous region currently occupied by China. Meanwhile, two others held a banner that read “No Genocide Games.”

The Post said the protesters were part of Free Tibet, a human rights group based in London, England, dedicated to ending China’s occupation of the autonomous region. In a news article on its website, the group identified the protesters as Jason Leith, Chemi Lhamo and Fern MacDougal.

In a video posted to Free Tibet’s Twitter account, the protesters can be heard shouting against the Beijing 2022 Olympics as actresses light the Olympic torch during the ceremony.

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In a separate Tweet, the group showed security apprehending the protesters for what it said were peaceful protests.

According to the Associated Press, the protesters were “thrown to the ground by police and detained.”

Free Tibet’s website said four additional Tibetan activists were arrested before the event after sitting in cars on a road near the entrance to the torch lighting ceremony.

The group said it is “calling for a full global boycott of the Beijing Olympics, in response to human rights atrocities committed against Tibetans, Uyghurs and Hong Kongers.”

“How can Beijing be allowed to host the Olympics given that they are committing a genocide against the Uyghurs?” one protester said in the above video.

In a June 2021 article, BBC reported China had been accused of holding over one million Uyghurs in so-called “re-education camps” against their will during the last few years. In addition, the United States accused China of committing genocide by “forcibly mass sterilizing Uyghur women to suppress the population.”

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China denied these allegations and said the camps were necessary as a counter-terrorism measure. It also claimed in 2019 it had completely emptied all of its re-education camps, a claim BBC said was in direct contrast to testimony from people in the region.

Despite the human rights accusations against China, the International Olympic Committee has insisted the Games should remain politically neutral.

“Only this political neutrality ensures that the Olympic Games can stand above and beyond the political differences that exist in our times,” IOC President Thomas Bach said, according to the Post.

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“The Olympic Games cannot address all the challenges in our world. But they set an example for a world where everyone respects the same rules and one another.”

When the Summer Games were previously held in Beijing in 2008, protesters also disrupted the torch lighting ceremony to speak in favor of democracy, Reuters said.

More protests are reportedly scheduled for Tuesday, when the flame will be ceremoniously handed off to organizers from Beijing.

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Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.
Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.