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China Warns Olympic Athletes Could Face Serious Consequences if they Speak Publicly on Human Rights

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Olympics

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games are prepared to begin February 4th in Beijing, but not without consequences. Chinese officials have issued a “warning” to all foreign athletes that they are “subject to certain punishment” if they speak “against the Olympic spirit.”

That “Olympic spirit” means politically speaking out about China. “Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment,” said Yan Shu, deputy director-general of international relations for the Beijing Organizing Committee (BOC).

National Review notes the Chinese Party’s suppression of speech is well known and many are concerned with consequences and punishments for political speech because of strict local laws. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said the Olympic Charter Rule banning protesting at medal ceremonies would force athletes to follow “applicable public law.”

The Associated Press reports according to the IOC athletes can “enjoy freedom of speech” when speaking to journalists or posting to social media during the games. However, the committee expressed any measures that would protect athletes from Chinese persecution.

CBS Sports reports Global Athlete Group director general Rob Koehler suggested Olympians could suffer severe consequences if they criticize China, especially while in the country itself. “Silence is complicity and that’s why we have concerns,” said Koehler. “We know the human rights record and the allowance of freedom of expression in China, so there’s really not much protection” he added.

Last month White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the U.S. government delegation planned to boycott the Olympic Games over the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including the presumed detention of tennis star Peng Shuai.

“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses. The athletes on team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games,” Psaki said.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jerry Todd

    January 22, 2022 at 9:12 am

    What ever happened to the joy and happiness around major events involving young people?

  2. WILLIAM FLYNN

    January 22, 2022 at 9:41 am

    The FEWER athletes that show up the better !

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International

Report: Ukraine Sunk Russian Warship By Using US Intel

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Ukraine sunk the Russian warship Moskva last month using United States intelligence, according to a new report from NBC News.

“A guided missile cruiser carrying a crew of 510, the Moskva was the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet,” NBC News reported. “It sank on April 14 after being struck by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles, U.S. officials said. Moscow said the vessel sank after a fire. The Moskva was the largest Russian warship sunk in combat since World War II. American officials said there were significant Russian casualties, but they don’t know how many.”

“The attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa, U.S. officials told NBC News,” the outlet added. “The U.S. identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship.”

The news comes the day after a report from The New York Times revealed that the United States has provided Ukraine with intelligence on Russian military units that has enabled the country to kill multiple Russian generals.

“The targeting help is part of a classified effort by the Biden administration to provide real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine,” The New York Times reported. “That intelligence also includes anticipated Russian troop movements gleaned from recent American assessments of Moscow’s secret battle plan for the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the officials said. Officials declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of U.S. assistance.”

“The United States has focused on providing the location and other details about the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which relocate frequently,” the outlet added. “Ukrainian officials have combined that geographic information with their own intelligence — including intercepted communications that alert the Ukrainian military to the presence of senior Russian officers — to conduct artillery strikes and other attacks that have killed Russian officers.”

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Putin’s Personal Cameraman Quit After Recording His Invasion Speech

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal cameraman, Ilya Filatov, reportedly quit his job immediately after filming Putin’s announcement that he would be invading Ukraine.

The timing of Filatov’s exit from a job that he had for over a decade led to speculation that he actually faced dismissal because of negative comments he allegedly made about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, Filatov “denies this version,” according to independent Russian news site The Insider, which is banned in Russia. Filatov claims that he quit because he “reached the ceiling in the profession” and that he was “tired of sitting in quarantine for many months,” which he was required to do to reduce the likelihood he could contract COVID-19 and infect Putin.

Filatov’s sudden departure from his long time role as Putin’s cameraman was part of a pattern of Russian employee exits following comments suggesting opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As explained by The Insider, “Since the beginning of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, one by one employees of Russian TV channels have been fired or left the frame. On April 21, Alexander Gurevich, the host of the One Hundred to One program, resigned from the VGTRK . Prior to this, anti-war comments on his behalf appeared under the episodes of the show on YouTube. In March, it became known that Zhanna Agalakova, an employee of Channel One, quit , and journalist Vadim Glusker quit NTV.”

The Insider also noted how Marina Ovsyannikova, an employee of Channel One, “broke into the live newscast for a few seconds with a poster “Stop the war! Don’t believe the propaganda, they lie to you here.” Before the action, she recorded a video message in which she condemned the actions of the Russian army on the territory of Ukraine. On March 15, the journalist was fined 30,000 rubles. In April, she became a freelance correspondent for the German Welt.”

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