The International Olympic Committee has admitted that it is responsible for the removal of a viral video from Twitter that showed an Uyghur athlete lighting the Olympic flame.
The clip shared by Mediaite’s Jason Rickman included comments from NBC’s Savannah Guthrie putting the incident in its political context.
Twitter passed the buck when questioned, saying that the video was “disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner,” according to the Washington Examiner.
IOC President Thomas Bach says the Olympic athletes should not be pulled into politics. Then why in God’s name did he choose China to host the Games – even as Beijing is orchestrating a genocide upon the Uyghur minority . #GenocideOlympics #UyghurGenocide https://t.co/WCwpVICnle
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) February 6, 2022
The IOC then fessed up, indicating that what might seem to some like censorship was simply good business.
“As the clip contained audiovisual content from the Olympic Games, it contravened the exclusive rights that the IOC has granted to Rights Holding Broadcasters, and therefore was subject to an automated takedown procedure,” an IOC spokesman said.
NEW: Twitter told @DCExaminer it took down this video at the request of the International Olympic Committee (or its reps) over copyright claims by the IOC. A reminder that the IOC’s leader vowed to remain “politically neutral” on the CCP’s Uyghur abuses.https://t.co/LHvbpaK5DQ https://t.co/6OwZyyS7Jf
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) February 5, 2022
“The video images from the Opening Ceremony can be found on the platforms of the Rights Holding Broadcasters,” the IOC said, claiming that it “protects this exclusivity, in order to be able to provide sport and athletes around the world the equivalent of $3.4 million every day.”
“This moment is quite provocative,” Guthrie said during the now-deleted clip. “It’s a statement from the Chinese President Xi Jinping to choose an athlete from the Uyghur minority. It is an in-your-face response to those Western nations, including the U.S., who have called this Chinese treatment of that group genocide and diplomatically boycotted these games. There will be much discussion about this.”
IOC President Thomas Bach talks in circles in response to a question about the Uyghur genocide:
“If we are getting in the middle of disputes [between] political powers, then we are putting the Games at risk.”
Genocide is not a political dispute, nice try though. pic.twitter.com/pgzYE0Npnd
— Peter Irwin (@PeterIrwin_) February 3, 2022
The United States alleges that China has committed genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang province, located in western China. China denies the allegation.
Some commentators said the Olympic Committee does not want to know the truth.
“The IOC knows the Chinese authorities are arbitrarily detaining Uyghurs and other Muslims, expanding state surveillance, and silencing numerous peaceful critics,” said Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch’s China director, Axios reported.
“Its failure to publicly confront Beijing’s serious human rights violations makes a mockery of its own commitments and claims that the Olympics are a ‘force for good,’” she said.
The IOC just tried to minimize the horrific genocide of Uyghur Muslims as a “political issue.”
The IOC has lost all credibility. This is a human rights crisis. This is genocide. This is why I’m fighting to strip the IOC’s tax-exempt status. https://t.co/QLLHNndOxF
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) February 4, 2022
“The IOC has never elevated human rights to a meaningful position in the movement, and it’s not been something that has driven policy,” said Derick Hulme, a political science professor at Alma College, according to The Orange County Register.
“They’ve had to accommodate where they have felt necessary. If we go back and think about the IOC’s treatment of human rights issues going back decades and decades and decades, the IOC has never, ever been about advancing human rights. It’s been about advancing the interest of the IOC,” he continued.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.