United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Gaza
Photo by Ali Jadallah, Anadolu Agency.
Humanize From Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism

UN Secretary General Betrays Human Rights by Attending Beijing Olympics

Originally published at The Epoch Times

China is the world’s most vicious tyranny. But for all its wrongdoing, the country faces virtually no accountability. To the contrary, China is treated as a respected member of the international community, even granted the honor of hosting the Winter Olympics, which start on Feb. 4.

How can this be? One would think that nations which claim the mantle of human rights champions would protest the ongoing atrocities in China by refusing to participate in the Winter Games. Yes, it would thwart the dreams of athletes. But that would be the International Olympics Committee’s fault for selecting China as host, not wrongdoing by a righteously disgusted world community.

And what an excellent example in soft power a boycott would provide. Refusing to attend the Olympics would be a bloodless — but sharp and salutary message — that the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal ways are beyond the pale.

But no. The international community can’t even manage that symbolic protest. The best the United States could do was declare a “diplomatic boycott” — which merely means that we won’t be sending Vice President Kamala Harris to Beijing to cheer on our athletes. I am sure the CCP’s Politburo are shedding bitter tears.

The United Kingdom and Australia followed America’s limp lead. But even that weak tea is too strong for the EU — which while threatening to punish Poland, Hungary and Romania for refusing to recognize same sex marriage — barely wrings its collective hands about the bloody tyrannical policies China inflicts on its religious and ethnic minorities. They wouldn’t want to offend their trade overlords, don’t you know.

Most infuriatingly, the António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations — who continually lectures the world on the need for following international human rights norms — happily accepted the International Olympics Committee’s invitation to attend the Beijing Games.  

Make no mistake: The head of the United Nations attending the Olympics validates China. Yet, this is the same man who bitterly criticized temporary travel restrictions from Africa announced by several countries to prevent spread of the Omicron COVID variant. Good grief, how misplaced can his priorities get?

Such cowardice extracts a terrible toll against human rights and the rule of law. Consider the depth of evil engaged in by China that don’t even rate a symbolic “stay-at-home” from Guterres and the leaders of most of the 90 countries participating in the Winter Games:

  • The genocide of Uyghur Muslims that include mass imprisonment of innocent people in reeducation camps, forced sterilization of their women, involuntary abortion, removing of children from homes into indoctrination schools, involuntary dispersion around the country as chattel slaves, and other mass means of forced labor.
  • The horrific pogrom against Falun Gong and Uyghur political prisoners, who are blood sampled and tissue typed upon imprisonment so they can be exploited as so many organ farms in China’s thriving market in vital organs.
  • The suppression and persecution of Christians, whose only crime is to worship the Lord instead of the State. Under the country’s “Sinicize religion” policy, houses of worship are required to uphold CCP dictates, including keeping children from any exposure to religion. As reported by Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, pastors are required to preach from the values promoted by the CCP instead of the faith, parishioners are scanned with facial recognition programs, churches are being blown up. Leaders who don’t comply with government diktats may be imprisoned indefinitely in “black jails,” isolated, uncharged, and denied due process of law. The Bible is even being rewritten and edited to reflect the values promoted by the State.
  • China has also instituted a dystopian “social credit” system, in which facial recognition technologies, artificial intelligence, GPS, and other means of high-tech surveillance track individual behavior and social associations and punish those who are deemed at variance with Chinese values with loss of jobs and other means of social excommunication. A new smartphone app is being introduced to encourage the Chinese people to report on each other’s “mistaken opinions” about the country’s socialist system.
  • On the international stage, China has illegally occupied Tibet for decades, and is actively committing cultural genocide against Buddhism there — including, it was just reported, forcing Tibetan children out of their own homes into boarding schools where they are indoctrinated in communist ideology.
  • It has crushed democracy in Hong Kong in violation of its treaty commitments. It threatens war with Taiwan. It engages in thievery of intellectual property around the world. It is constructing illegal artificial islands in the South China Sea to expand its military reach and acts as a thuggish loan shark in destitute countries allowing Chinese businesses to take over the ports and other infrastructure when the loans cannot be repaid.
  • And in the face of the UN’s insistence that the world unite to combat climate change, the International Energy Agency just announced that China will increase the coal generation of electricity by 9 percent this year. Talk about a poke in the international community’s eye!
  • And let us not forget the COVID catastrophe that has killed more than 5 million people around the world and cost trillions of dollars. There is no question that the plague began in China, but in violation of every public health ethical standard, the country’s leaders refuse to allow a true investigation into the plague’s causes or how it became pandemic.

Considering these sundry injustices and crimes against humanity — and more that could be listed — at what point does conducting business as usual with the tyranny become complicity in its actions? Granting China the respectability of hosting the Olympics — and most particularly, the attendance by the UN Secretary General and diplomats from most countries — surely crosses that line. What a travesty.

Worse, the international community’s moral abdication is dangerous. Our impotence will embolden China’s leaders into contemplating even greater violations of international norms in the years to come. If we maintain the same feckless approach, China may soon become uncontainable.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.