Seven urged to drop Beijing Olympics

Protesters are urging the Seven Network to drop its coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Protesters are urging the Seven Network to drop its coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

With just a week until the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, dissidents are urging the Seven Network to drop its coverage of the games because of China's human rights record.

Around 25 people rallied outside the Seven's headquarters in Sydney's Martin Place on Friday to voice concerns about the broadcasting of the Olympics.

They said it would give China a pass on its flagrant abuses of human rights.

"Channel Seven should boycott the Beijing Olympics because we have no freedom in Tibet," said Migmar Tsering of the Tibetan Community Association in Sydney.

Chinese state control had grown under the leadership under President Xi Jinping, he claimed.

"There is torture and destruction of Buddhist monasteries and schools," he said.

"Young children are taken to China and re-educated in Chinese communist policies and language. This is cultural genocide."

The organisers are from disenfranchised ethnic and religious minorities in China, including Uighurs as well as citizens from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who warned the network "would become complicit" in the regime's roundly condemned human rights violations.

"We're all in the same boat facing different levels of oppression," Ramila Chanisheff of the Australian Uyghur Women's Association said.

"There's credible evidence of people dying and for a country to host a glamorous event where genocide is happening is shocking."

China has interned an estimated one million Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in camps over the past four years, according to rights groups, researchers and survivors.

Australia joined a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics in December, along with other countries including the US and UK, citing human rights concerns.

Canberra's relationship with Beijing has also deteriorated in recent years with China slapping tariffs on key Australian exports such as wine and barley, as well as restricting coal imports.

The Beijing Winter Olympic games will run from February 2 to 20. The opening ceremony will take place on February 4.

Australian Associated Press