Washington, US: Speaking to host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the US ambassador said that Uyghur skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang being the final torchbearer at the Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday night was “an effort by the Chinese to distract us from the real issue here at hand: that Uyghurs are being tortured, and Uyghurs are the victims of human rights violations by the Chinese.”
She further reiterated that the US is determined to keep China’s human rights abuses against Uyghurs “front and centre” during the Beijing Olympics.
The US ambassador to the United Nations said that China choosing an Uyghur athlete to light the Olympic flame was an attempt to distract viewers from the country’s genocide of the predominantly Muslim ethnic group.
Many Uyghurs feel that their voices were not being heard when they spoke about the atrocities the Chinese’s government committed against the minority group.
Moreover, human rights groups have called the Beijing Olympics the “Genocide Games,” while the US and other Western democracies have cited human rights abuses in staging a diplomatic boycott of the event.
The Chinese government has targeted the Xinjiang region’s Uyghurs with a network of detention camps as part of a years-long campaign of forced assimilation – one that critics and formerly detained Uyghurs recalled involved harsh living conditions, family separation, mass surveillance and coercive birth control policies.