Watching The Olympics

I don’t know what pressure can be brought to bear on the International Olympic Committee (OIC) at this point; they have long been linked to bags of money and easygoing murderous tyrants who never worry about occupational safety or human rights. But China is really testing us this year. I want to watch the winter Olympics — and the athletes deserve to compete — but it feels so bad, like we are being made complicit. If there is any good news here, the IOC seems to have chosen a more democratic path going forward — I certainly have no problems with Paris.

Following the conclusion of this year’s Winter Olympics, the Games will return to taking place every two years, starting with Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Milan will host the 2026 Winter Games, followed by Los Angeles in the 2028 Summer Games. Brisbane will host the 2032 Summer Games.

However, many worry that the international broadcasts of this year’s Olympics amount to “sportswashing,” allowing China to appear modern and civilized, while distracting the world from their horrific treatment of the predominantly Muslim minority Uyghur community in Xinjiang, as well as the plight of the still missing tennis player Peng Shuai.

It is now clear that the IOC loves autocratic dictators and will do nothing to upset Xi. IOC President Thomas Bach claims to be satisfied that Shuai’s recent “hostage video” proves that she is free, adding that he will not request an inquiry into her accusations unless she asks him to. (NYT 2.3.22)

The Smithsonian Magazine has a comprehensive examination of Uyghur history, the current situation, and why the accusation of genocide is gaining traction.

The United Nations’ definition of genocide is broken into five parts: killing members of a specific group, causing serious bodily or mental harm, imposing measures to prevent births, forcibly transferring children from one group to another, and creating conditions to destroy the group.

That could be President Xi’s vision board.

Seen here are the traditional Uyghur skullcaps, known as doppa, which adorn the wall of Jahunger, the Uyghur restaurant on Wickenden Street. Neither their website nor their Facebook page address the Olympic controversy, and I’m too much of a coward to go speak to them about it. I’m afraid someone might suggest I not watch the broadcast, but then I would still watch it and feel even worse.

(Jennifer Rubin at WashPo is doing the right thing.)


About the doppa: The New York Times ran a piece last November about an Australian woman returning to Central Asia to connect with her Uyghur roots and purchase a traditional embroidered doppa like the one she had as a child. A video resulted from her trip. When I last inquired, Jahunger was selling these caps for $22.


I went to Jahunger last year and have been recommending it ever since. (Their menu includes photographs of the food.) The traditional Pulled Noodles seen below are wonderful. Also try Spicy Tiger.

The restaurant is open: Tuesday-Friday, 4pm to 7:45pm.

Saturday and Sunday, noon to 7:45pm.

1 thought on “Watching The Olympics”

  1. I knew of the Uyghur people vaguely, because of a few videos I had watched on YouTube before. Your reference to The Smithsonian article was very educational and thank you for this post. There are many atrocious stories about that regime. Unfortunately, the story of the Uyghur is only one of them.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Providence Daily Dose