According to the IOC, the Olympics are all about sports and no politics. This will be the same mantra as always when the Beijing Winter Games opens in six months.
Reporting on figure-skating finals or ski races should not be difficult. Just stay within the sports bubble and avoid getting into trouble. Reporters from other countries may draw criticism if they try to expose the Chinese culture, as happened in Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.
If they portray China in negative terms, they could be subject to harassment or threats.
Oriana Skylar Makstro, a Stanford University researcher on China security issues, stated that China demands complete adherence.
She stated in an email that “It requires this from governments but also corporations and media” Do you think China will pursue any reporter or sportsperson who stray from the “acceptable” script during the Olympics? “Yes, absolutely.”
China’s foreign minister has repeatedly criticised the “politicization” of sports and said that any Olympic boycott was “doomed for failure”. It has not specifically addressed journalism during the Games.
Last week, foreign journalists covering floods in China were subject to a perilous situation. The Communist Youth League, a Chinese arm, requested social media users to report on a BBC reporter assigned by them. This led to more serious accusations of foreign journalists for “slandering” China. The coverage could have been seen as critical, rather than being focused on the government’s rescue efforts.
In a statement, The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said the “rhetoric from organizations affiliated with China’s ruling Community Party directly endangers the physical safety of foreign journalists in China and hinders free reporting.”
The group stated that staff at the BBC and Los Angeles Times received death threats and incendiary messages and calls. This comes after China expelled more than a dozen American journalists from The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times last year.
Beijing was the IOC’s unpopular choice for the 2022 Winter Olympics. This decision was made in 2015 primarily because European favorites Oslo and Stockholm had pulled out financially or politically. The IOC had only two options: Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing.
Beijing won with four votes to 44-40. Human rights groups continue to criticize the choice.
The IOC has declined several recent demands to move the Olympics out of Beijing. Researchers and foreign governments have accused China of imposing forced labor and systematic forced birth control on Uyghurs in Xinjiang (a predominantly Muslim region in China’s west).
China denied genocide against Uyghurs and called such accusations “the lieof the century.”
Last week a vice president of Intel, one of the IOC’s top 15 sponsors, said he agreed with a U.S. State Department assessment that said China was committing genocide against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. Others sponsors, including Visa, Procter & Gamble and Airbnb, appeared at a congressional hearing, but didn’t answer many questions.
Victor Cha, an Asian specialist from Georgetown University, sent an email to AP titled “The Olympics Catch-22 for illiberal regims like China.” Cha wrote a book about the politics of sport in Asia and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also served as the director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council from 2004 to 2007.
Cha stated that they do not want the media’s scrutiny and criticism. “They want all of the attention and glory of hosting the Winter Games in the world, but they don’t want any of the criticism.” All hosts must deal with this; see all the scrutiny over COVID before Tokyo. It is the host’s handling of it that makes the difference.
Although the IOC claims its primary focus is sports, it has an observer position at the United Nations. Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, spoke out about his efforts to unite the two Koreas during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (South Korea). In Osaka (Japan), he addressed world leaders and spoke about his plans for 2019 at the G20 summit.
Mark Adams, spokesperson for the IOC, stated that “our responsibility is to deliver Games.” That is our responsibility. It is the responsibility and obligation of other people, such as the United Nations who have been supportive of the Olympic Games and governments to deal this out — not for us.
He said: “Given all the different participation in the Olympic Games the IOC must remain neutral. This is clear.
Adams was asked by email whether the IOC would “condemn China’s policy of interning Uyghurs, and other largely Muslim minority communities.” He didn’t answer the question but referred back to his previous statements. Adams wrote that the IOC recognized and upheld human rights in its remit at all times. “This includes journalists’ rights to report on the Olympic Games.
Although the IOC had included human rights requirements in the Paris Olympics host city contract many years ago, the U.N. did not. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights — Beijing. The standards have been long advocated by human rights groups and Paris is the first Olympics to include them.
Bach has never mentioned the Uyghurs in many interviews about China’s preparations for the Winter Olympics. He has not mentioned it in interviews about China and its preparations for the Winter Olympics.
However, the IOC has encouraged press statements regarding conversations Bach had with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It has not disclosed the content.
Reacting to the BBC incident the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs basically said that the British news agency had it coming.
Zhao Lijian, a ministry spokesperson, stated that the BBC had a long history in ideological bias against China. “It has been broadcasting fake news and spreading false information about issues related to Hong Kong and Xinjiang and the COVID-19 virus to attack and discredit China.”
Zhao said that the BBC had been reporting on China using tinted glasses for some time. This has led to a decline in its reputation in China.
Yaqiu Wang is a China researcher at Human Rights Watch. She grew up in Shanghai and said that “the foreign media had brand credibility five or six years back.” However, increasing information control by China does not allow the average Chinese to have an accurate assessment of what the Western media has to say about China.
Wang said the mood is vastly different from 2008, when Beijing held the Summer Olympics. Many people outside China believed the Olympics would increase human rights. Some Chinese considered it a period of optimism. In the lead-up to the Olympics, controls over foreign media were relaxed. This was interpreted by some as a relaxation of the political front after decades and “reform” (as China refers to its 40 year history of economic reconfiguration).
Wang stated that “the hostility amongst the people is real, more real than ever before,” Wang said that this kind of hostility was not present in 2008 but is now. They know that if you are negative about the West or hostile to it, it is in your best interest to do so.
Wang said, “If you go into a stadium and they feel that you are covering something positive,” “But if you talk to dissidents, or someone who has been the victim of abuse, it could put you in a dangerous situation.”