Protesting Winter Olympics athletes face ‘certain punishment’, suggests Beijing official | Winter Olympics 2022

Any athlete behaviour that’s in opposition to the Olympic spirit or Chinese language guidelines or legal guidelines shall be topic to “sure punishment”, a Beijing 2022 official has stated in response to a query about the potential for athlete protests at subsequent month’s Winter Video games.

It comes shortly after human rights advocates warned athletes they have been higher off staying silent at some stage in the Video games and amid issues over the net safety of attendees’ information contained in a compulsory cellphone app.

At a press convention on Tuesday, Yang Shu, the deputy director of worldwide relations for the Beijing organising committee, stated athletes may face cancellation of accreditation or different “sure punishments”.

“Any expression that’s consistent with the Olympic spirit I’m certain shall be protected,” stated Yang. “Any behaviour or speech that’s in opposition to the Olympic spirit, particularly in opposition to the Chinese language legal guidelines and rules, are additionally topic to sure punishment.”


Acts of protest on the Video games are usually in opposition to the foundations set by the Worldwide Olympic Committee, which additionally warned athletes to not protest on the Tokyo summer season Video games, or face potential punishment. Nevertheless, there are mounting issues over the rising intolerance of protest, dissent or criticism in or in opposition to China. Quite a few human rights activists and attorneys have been arrested and jailed, and final 12 months the Chinese language tennis star Peng Shuai, disappeared from public view for a number of weeks after she publicly accused a former senior official of sexual assault, sparking a global marketing campaign over her wellbeing.

Nick Kyrgios speaks on Peng Shuai, Djokovic and Australian Open crowd – video
Nick Kyrgios speaks on Peng Shuai, Djokovic and Australian Open crowd – video

On Tuesday night time a discussion board hosted by Human Rights Watch warned athletes about conducting any activism, together with making statements, whereas in Beijing for the Video games, and to be cautious of the extraordinary attain of Chinese language surveillance.

Yaqiu Wang, a researcher on China for the organisation, stated the disappearance of Peng was “a superb indicator of what may presumably occur” if athletes spoke out.

“Chinese language legal guidelines are very obscure on the crimes that can be utilized to prosecute individuals’s free speech,” she stated. “There are every kind of crimes that may be levelled at peaceable, important feedback. And in China the conviction price is 99%.”

“Athletes have an incredible platform and skill to talk out, to be leaders in society and but the group isn’t letting them area questions on sure points forward of those Video games,” stated the US Nordic skier and former Olympian Noah Hoffman. “However my recommendation to athletes is to remain silent as a result of it will threaten their very own security and that’s not an inexpensive ask of athletes. They’ll converse out once they get again.”

Within the lead as much as the Video games there have been issues over how you can defend attendees’ information and privateness whereas in Beijing. Final week Workforce GB athletes have been urged to not take their private telephones with them and have been as a substitute supplied short-term replacements by the British Olympic Affiliation, over authorities spying issues.

However a report revealed on Wednesday by the tech safety watchdog Citizen Lab warned an app that every one attendees have been mandated to obtain had a “devastating flaw” that left private and medical data, voice audio and file transfers weak.

The app, MY2022, collects delicate private data together with a consumer’s identify, cellphone quantity, ID quantity and electronic mail tackle, and well being data together with every day self-reported well being standing, vaccination standing and Covid check outcomes.

The flaw allowed encryption defending customers’ voice audio and file transfers to be “trivially sidestepped”, Citizen Lab stated. “Well being customs varieties which transmit passport particulars, demographic data, and medical and journey historical past are additionally weak. Server responses will also be spoofed, permitting an attacker to show faux directions to customers.”

Citizen Lab stated the official Olympic Video games Playbook outlines quite a lot of entities which can be allowed to course of that non-public information, together with the organising committee and numerous Chinese language authorities, nevertheless it didn’t specify “with whom or with which organisation(s) it will share customers’ medical and health-related data”.

The app additionally accommodates a characteristic permitting customers to report “politically delicate” content material, and a at the moment inactive censorship key phrase checklist, referring to subjects together with Xinjiang, Tibet, the Tiananmen Sq. bloodbath, insults in opposition to China and its leaders, and impartial references to Chinese language authorities companies and figures.

In response the Worldwide Olympic Committee stated customers may disable the app’s entry to elements of their telephones and that assessments from two unnamed cybersecurity organisations “confirmed that there aren’t any important vulnerabilities”.


It additionally stated putting in the app was not required “as accredited personnel can go browsing to the well being monitoring system on the net web page as a substitute”, nevertheless it had requested Citizen Lab for its report “to grasp their issues higher”.

Citizen Lab stated it had instructed the Chinese language Olympic organising committee in regards to the points in early December and had given it a 15-day deadline to reply and 45 days to repair the issue, however acquired no reply.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

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