Chairs Introduce #OlympicPrisoner Project Highlighting Political Prisoners in China Leading Up to Beijing 2022 Olympic Games

(Washington)-- Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China, today announced the kick-off of a social media project to highlight political prisoners in the People’s Republic of China two months before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are set to begin. The initiative will highlight the cases of political prisoners drawn from the CECC’s searchable Political Prisoner Database.  

The first cases highlighted will be imprisoned journalists and citizen journalists, given the PRC’s already disputed promise to allow free and unrestricted media access during the 2022 Olympics. In subsequent weeks, the CECC will include cases of imprisoned Uyghurs, Tibetans, labor activists, Christians, Falun Gong, Hong Kongers, human rights lawyers, women rights and democracy advocates among the over 1,500 cases of known political prisoners found in the Political Prisoner Database.  

The Chairs released a video announcing the initiative, which will use the hashtag #OlympicPrisoner, saying,

“The Chinese government has stained the Olympics. It is essential we remember that behind the shiny façade are human beings...We announce an effort to focus attention not on the façade, but on real people who are not able to celebrate the Olympic spirit, because they are unjustly imprisoned by the government hosting the Games… We encourage you to join us and call on the International Olympic Committee and its partners to use their leverage to put pressure on the Chinese government to release prisoners of conscience and reduce the stain they have put on the Olympic spirit.” 

Follow the #OlympicPrisoner project on Twitter and Instagram