AirBNB Asked to Drop Beijing Winter Olympics Participation over China Human Rights Abuses

AirBNB has been asked to drop its sponsorship for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics by a coalition of 150 human rights campaigners following human rights abuse claims coming out of Xinjiang.

The coalition is putting pressure on multiple sponsors for the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to pull their support after multiple stories have surfaced regarding the mistreatment and detainment of Uyghurs at “re-education camps” in the Xinjang region of China.

China has assured both press outlets and other nations that Uyghurs have remained unharmed in these camps, but will not allow outside confirmation of their safety and well-being.

The coalition sent an open letter to AirBNB CEO Brian Chesky, saying that AirBNB is “glossing over China’s horrifying human rights record and normalizing to the public what is recognized under international law as a deeply restrictive environment”. The letter also accused AirBNB of expanding its control over the tourist industry at the direct expense of Uyghur captives.

The top 15 IOC sponsors, to include brands like Coca-Cola, Samsung, Toyota and Intel, pay roughly a billion dollars total to the IOC over the course of a 4 year Olympic cycle. AirBNB joined the sponsorship roster in November 2019, just 4 months before global travel bans would shut down the tourist trade entirely.

Rights groups have begun asking nations to boycott the games entirely and are also putting pressure on IOC sponsors to drop out of the 2022 Olympic games. China has said that these demands are “politically motivated” and continues to describe the camps as “vocational centers”.

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