Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, delivered a rare and surprising rebuke to a Chinese Olympic official during a news conference on Friday.
His comments came after Yan Jiarong, a spokesman for the Beijing Olympics, made comments at a news conference the day before that appeared to violate Olympic rules on political neutrality. .
“We contacted BOCOG shortly after this press conference,” Bach said, using the acronym Beijing Olympic Games Organizing Committee, “and both organizations, BOCOG and IOC, confirmed. made a clear commitment to remain politically neutral as it was required by Olympic charter. ”
Yan, asked on Thursday whether athletes from Taiwan would march during Sunday’s closing ceremony, replied: “What I mean is that there is only one China in the world.” Taiwan is a self-governing democratic island nation but is considered by the Beijing government to be part of China’s territory.
“Taiwan is an indivisible part of China,” said Yan, who was previously China’s delegate to the United Nations.
Taiwan competes under the name of Chinese Taipei in the Olympics.
Yan also stepped in after an Olympic committee spokesman was asked whether the uniform material was made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region. “I think these questions are very much based on lies,” she said. “Some authorities have refuted such misinformation with a lot of solid evidence.”
Yan’s comments appear to violate Rule 50 of the Olympic charter, which prohibits any form of “political, religious or racial propaganda or demonstration” at the Games.
While Bach did not directly condemn Yan’s comments, even some mild criticism is for some of the strongest wording he has made against China. Bach took great pains before the Olympics to regard them as a must and must remain politically neutral event, although that has long been more of an IOC ideal than a reality.
Bach declined to comment when asked on opening night if he had any message for the Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim minority group in Xinjiang. China’s repression of the Uighurs has been called a genocide by the US government. “If we’re taking a political stance, and we’re in the midst of political tensions, disputes and confrontations, then we’re putting the Olympics at risk,” he said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/17/sports/olympics/ioc-thomas-bach-chinese-official.html Thomas Bach, IOC President, Reprimands a Chinese Official for Political Comments