It's now more obvious than ever that China should never have been chosen to host Olympics

YORK DISPATCH EDITORIAL BOARD
  • The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are not even a week old.
  • Already, a Dutch reporter has been manhandled and screamed at by an Olympic security guard.
  • Additionally, the conditions inside the quarantine hotel for athletes with COVID are deplorable.
FILE - A worker in protective gear walks past the Olympic rings at the National Indoor Stadium at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Feb. 1, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

With each passing day, it’s becoming more obvious that Beijing should have never been awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics.

And with each passing day, it’s becoming more obvious that China should not be selected as a host nation for any future Olympics until that country’s government drastically alters its policies, both foreign and domestic.

Of course, the warning signs of trouble were overwhelming before the latest games began.

China’s repression of 11 million Uyghurs — a mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group — in the northwestern region of Xinjiang has been well documented.

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China’s human rights violations, however, hardly end there.

The nation has a long history of systematic crackdowns on dissent. The justice system remains plagued by unfair trials and torture. And freedom of expression in Hong Kong has come under attack, with the government unfairly prosecuting pro-democracy activists.

And that is just the tip of iceberg when it comes to China’s abhorrent policies.

Still, the International Olympic Committee somehow found a rationale for awarding China the 2022 Winter Games, just 14 years after that same city got the Summer Games.

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Of course, we all know the real reason China got the games — money.

Troubling examples: Now that the games have started, we’re getting an up-close look at how China operates.

It hasn’t been pretty. Here are just a couple of examples:

An Olympic security guard manhandled and screamed at a reporter broadcasting live on Dutch television before the Opening Ceremony.

Sjoerd den Daas was simply doing his job and speaking to the camera Friday evening when a security official pushed him away. The incident was shared across social media.

The IOC says the security guard was simply being “overzealous,” while a Chinese Olympic spokesman said “we welcome all the international media” to report on the games and will protect their legal rights.

Excuse us if we have our doubts about both statements.

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Meanwhile, multiple Olympic athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19 and forced to isolate in Beijing are reporting serious issues with their conditions in the so-called quarantine hotels.

They are facing deplorable accommodations, such as poor to no internet connections, bad food and no training equipment.

The lack of access to fitness equipment and struggling to communicate with their Olympic teams are especially problematic issues for athletes trying to stay in prime shape before they compete.

"My stomach hurts, I'm very pale and I have huge black circles around my eyes. I want all this to end. I cry every day. I'm very tired," Russian biathlon competitor Valeria Vasnetsova posted on Instagram when discussing her quarantine.

There have been other issues as well, and we’re not even a week into the games.

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China’s response: Of course, China, in typical fashion, is saying there’s nothing to see here and that those who are focusing on the controversies are simply trying to “politicize” an event that should be only about sports and competition.

Well, that’s simply a smokescreen. When you put the world’s largest sporting event in a nation known for its oppressive policies, it would be journalistic malpractice not to report on the issues at hand.

We can only hope that China’s behavior, both inside and outside these games, will finally convince the IOC that money shouldn’t be the only consideration determination when it comes to Olympic host sites.

It is obvious, now more than ever, that China does not deserve to host the Olympics again — at least until there’s a dramatic shift in government policy.