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30 Jul 2015

Jonathan Kaiman & Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times

Beijing chosen to host 2022 Winter Olympics, angering human rights groups

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Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee [IOC] announced…sparking outrage among activists and human rights groups who say the committee has rewarded China's Communist Party during its strongest crackdown on dissent in decades. The contest came down to Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, after other contenders melted away…with 44 votes for Beijing and 40 for Almaty… 

John J. MacAloon, a University of Chicago anthropologist…who has studied the Olympics extensively… said that Beijing was "way worse than Almaty." …"It makes a joke of the Agenda 2020 reforms" -- the reform package the IOC recently adopted that puts environmental sustainability, cost-containment and human rights near the top of the list in choosing host cities for the Games…

The nongovernmental organization China Human Rights Defenders noted this week that conditions have deteriorated on all three fronts. Since March 2013, when Xi became China's president, authorities have "arbitrarily detained" at least 1,800 people, the group reported, including more than 300 lawyers and human rights activists in a fresh crackdown that began earlier this month. Authorities have also tightened Internet controls and ratcheted up religious and cultural repression in the ethnically diverse far western areas Xinjiang and Tibet. "To honor Beijing by awarding it another Olympic Games…amounts to telling the victims of the Chinese government's rights abuses that their human dignity does not count," the organization in an open letter to the IOC on Tuesday.

Other critics of China had complained that the …2008 Summer Games…had resulted in the forcible relocation of 1.5 million people; the detention of disabled people and petitioners to "clean up" the city's image; and only temporary relaxation of restrictions on the media…

Environmentalists have questioned whether Beijing's bid was practical, given that the smoggy, water-challenged city of 22 million…amid mountains that receive about 8 inches of snow annually. (Beijing officials have said that the Games will rely on man-made snow.)…

Part of the following timelines

China: IOC selects Beijing to host Winter Olympics 2022, despite criticisms from human rights groups

China: 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic sponsors urged to manage human rights risks of their involvements

China: Growing human rights concern as 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games draw near