Olympic bosses can't tell China what to do, says Coates

Sports | ASSOCIATED PRESS 15 Oct 2021

International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates says challenging China on its human rights record as Beijing prepares to host the 2022 Winter Games in February is not in the organization's remit.

There has been widespread criticism of Beijing's treatment of Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang as well as its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong and its policies toward Tibet and Taiwan.

Coates, who is also president of the Australian Olympic Committee, said while human rights were an important part of the fundamental principles of the Olympics, the IOC had to respect the sovereignty of the host country.

"The IOC's remit is to ensure that there is no human rights abuses in respect of the conduct of the Games within the National Olympic Committee, or within the Olympic movement,'' Coates told the National Press Club in Canberra. "We have no ability to go into a country and tell them what to do.''

Coates said the IOC "was not a world government.''

"We have to respect the sovereignty of the countries who are hosting the Games,'' Coates said. "The work the IOC is doing is to protect the Olympians and those involved in the Games - that's within our remit."

The Games will run from February 4-20, with the Paralympics set for March 4-13.

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