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CAIR Urges Olympic Athletes to Defy China Free Speech Ban, Speak Out Against Uyghur Genocide 

(WASHINGTON D.C., 1/20/2022) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on foreign athletes participating in the Beijing Olympics to defy China’s announced ban on political expression and speak out against that nation’s genocide targeting the Uyghur Muslim minority. 

[NOTE: The Olympics are set to begin on Feb. 4. CAIR welcomed a U.S. diplomatic boycott of the games over human rights concerns.] 

Yang Shu, deputy director general of international relations for the Beijing Organizing Committee, said: “Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against the Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment.” A recent congressional report shows that there is no freedom of political expression for ordinary Chinese citizens. 

SEE: China warns foreign Olympic athletes against speaking out on politics at Winter Games (Washington Post)

SEE: Athletes warned against speaking up on human rights at Beijing Games

“We urge Olympic athletes to take every opportunity to exercise their internationally-recognized right to free speech and speak out against the ongoing genocide of Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese Communist Party,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “The world community must prevent a repetition of the 1936 Olympics, which was similarly used by a brutal dictatorship to whitewash its crimes against humanity.” 

CAIR this week condemned remarks by Chamath Palihapitiya, a minority owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, saying “nobody cares what’s happening to the Uyghurs.”  

SEE: CAIR Condemns NBA Golden State Warriors Owner Saying He Doesn’t Care About China’s Genocide Targeting Uyghur Muslims, Calls on NBA to Sever Ties with China 

It is well documented that China carries out acts of torture, rape, forced abortions and sterilizations, mass detention, denial of religious rights, and cultural erasure targeting Uyghur Muslims. 

SEE: CAIR Calls for ‘Immediate International Action’ After Amnesty Report Describes ‘Dystopian Hellscape’ for Uyghur Muslims in China 

Earlier this month, CAIR called on Elon Musk to close a recently-opened Tesla showroom in China’s Xinjiang region, epicenter of the Uyghur genocide.  

SEE: CAIR Calls on Elon Musk to Close Tesla Showroom in China’s Xinjiang Region, Epicenter of Uyghur Genocide  

In December, CAIR welcomed President Biden’s signing of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (S.65/H.R.1155) into law. CAIR also welcomed new sanctions by the Biden administration on several Chinese government entities and corporations over abuses they committed against Uyghur Muslims and other minorities.   

SEE: BREAKING: CAIR Welcomes President Biden’s Signing of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Into Law    

CAIR Welcomes New Biden Administration Sanctions on Chinese Govt. Entities, Companies Over Abuses in Uyghur Region  

Earlier in 2021, CAIR and its #BoycottHilton coalition partners called on the Departments of State and Commerce to investigate the Hilton Corporation for its complicity in the Uyghur genocide.   

SEE: #BoycottHilton Coalition Asks Secs. Antony Blinken, Gina Raimondo to Probe Hilton Worldwide, Chinese Partner for Complicity in Uyghur Genocide  


CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.             

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.            

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CONTACT: CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530,; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ismail Allison, 202-770-6280,   

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