Photo: Denver Post
Former Olympic cross-country skier Noah Hoffman says he is “scared” for the athletes’ security who might voice out their concern about human rights issues during Beijing 2022.
He is concerned about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CPP) human rights history and how it affects their athletes. And how they don’t receive adequate support from the International Olympic Commission (IOC), Hoffman says, who retired from competitive skiing after the PyeongChang Games in 2018.
A Beijing 2022 official said previously this month that athletes who illustrate behavior “that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese law and regulations” will be dealt with a “certain punishment.”
The Olympic Committee has made it clear that any objections to the Games must not occur during competition and formal ceremonies, but athletes are free in interviews with press conferences.
Hoffman said, “I’m scared for athletes who are headed there because athletes are going into a really difficult situation with the restrictions on speech in China.”
“Athletes have been warned by the organizing committee that if they violate the laws of China, they will be punished but the laws of China, when it comes to speech, are extremely opaque,” he stated. “It’s not clear at all what kind of speech might be deemed illegal.”
The Peng Shuai case has shed light on how athletes who speak out against China risk being penalized.
Peng was feared to be declared incommunicado last November by the Chinese government following her long account that retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli is forcing sex on her throughout the years of an intimate relationship.
The post was deleted in less than 30 minutes and Chinese censors went to great lengths taking down all tracks regarding her allegations. They terminated any reference from airwaves within their borders as well.
A major media outlet even broadcasted the story, but China’s censors changed it to black-andwhite bars. They forbade any mention of this in their country.
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