Japan calls out “serious human rights situation” in China as the Olympics begin

Photo: Tibet Action Institute

Japan has joined the mounting international pressure on the Chinese government, cautiously addressing the human rights situation in China as damning evidence of forced labor, torture and other human rights abuses being committed against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities continues to build.

Japan’s parliament adopted a resolution addressing the broad human rights situation in China, stopping short of acknowledging the situation as being rooted in the perpetuation of state-sanctioned egregious rights abuses. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the resolution did not directly use the word “China” in its text.

The resolution follows Japan’s decision to not send a government delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympics. Though there were reportedly concerns in Japan’s government on the implications of the resolution on Japan’s bilateral relationship with China, the resolution passed just before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports: The resolution, adopted by the lower chamber, said the international community has expressed concerns over such issues as internment and the violation of religious freedom in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Tibet and Hong Kong.

“Human rights issues cannot just be domestic issues, because human rights hold universal values and are a rightful matter of concern for the international community,” the resolution said.

“This chamber recognises changes to the status quo with force, which are symbolised by the serious human rights situation, as a threat to the international community,” it said.

Japan’s resolution calls for greater international cooperation between the Japanese government and the international community, calling on the Japanese government to “collect information to grasp the whole picture … , monitor the serious human right situation in cooperation with the international community, and implement comprehensive relieving measures”.

Though international boycotts of the Olympic Games are underway to communicate disapproval of the Chinese government’s actions, the International Olympic Committee has not bowed to pressure to issue a human rights due diligence plan. Furthermore, the IOC has refused to engage with our community and our partners at the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region in mutually respectful dialogue.

As the Beijing Winter Olympic Games begin the Freedom human rights activist community is calling on the IOC to put human rights first and disclose what, if any, specific due diligence steps it has taken to identify and eliminate any material produced with Uyghur forced labor in Olympic-branded merchandise.

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