Human Rights Watch fear the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be "triumphal Chinese communist spectacle in the snow" ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are being urged to implement its human rights strategy immediately amid concerns the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing will become a "triumphal Chinese communist spectacle in the snow".

Human Rights Watch is leading calls for the IOC to adopt policies that could play a key role in stopping serious human rights abuses being committed in the host nation.

Beijing is set to become the first city to stage the summer and winter editions of the Olympics and Paralympics when it plays host to the Games in February next year.

The Chinese capital last staged the Summer Olympics in 2008, but Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, claims the human rights situation has "downgraded markedly" since then.

"China is in the midst of its worst human rights crackdown since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989," said Worden.

"The Olympics are shaping up to be a triumphal Chinese communist spectacle in the snow.

"Some of you have seen senior IOC leaders say that the Olympics are not political.

"We wish someone would tell that to the Chinese Government.

"For an autocracy like China the Olympics are not just about sport, they are geo-political event that can elevate the status of the Government and the ruling Chinese communist party at home and abroad."

Calls are being made for country to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics due to human rights issues ©Getty Images
Calls are being made for country to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics due to human rights issues ©Getty Images

Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy was produced by the independent experts Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Rachel Davis, vice-president of Shift, a non-profit centre of expertise on business and human rights last December.

This document was commissioned by the IOC in 2019 and was developed following a consultative process with internal staff and experts.

"Our recommendation is that it should be adopted immediately," said Worden.

"If it had already been adopted it would have given the IOC leverage and a roadmap to deal with the human rights abuses that are affecting the Olympic preparations and coverage.

"A lot of this repression has taken place since China was awarded the Olympics in 2015.

"The IOC is in a very strong positive to say you’ve began this repression since we gave you the Games and we want you to stop it now."

China has been accused of using forced Uyghur labour, operating a mass surveillance programme, detaining thousands in internment camps, carrying out forced sterilisations and intentionally destroying Uyghur heritage.

Beijing claims the camps are training centres designed to stamp out Islamist extremism and separatism, and denies allegations made.

Nikki Dryden, an Olympic swimmer turned human rights lawyer, said she was one of the stakeholders that helped to develop the IOC’s human rights plan.

She said she wanted to see "concrete" actions from the organisation with six months to go until the Winter Olympics are scheduled to open.

"Implement the plan now," said Dryden.

"They have sat on the strategic plan for a long time,

"It was finally published the end of last year.

"If that plan was put in place human rights’ due diligence would be going on in Beijing and China right now ahead of the Olympic Games and I think the IOC has really failed here.

"They had a chance.

"They knew that this was going to happen.

"The IOC is responsible for this situation, and I think that until they implement with urgency some human rights due diligence to work with the Chinese Government to make progress on these issues we have a very limited amount of time left unless we do decide to move the Games.

"We have done once so why can’t we do it again."

Dryden, who competed at Barcelona 1992, also does not believe China is a safe place for athletes to travel to for the Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20 next year.

"As an athlete going into China, they are expected to be safe," said Dryden.

"If you are a Muslim athlete from any country how could you possible feel safe knowing that the host nation is systematically targeting Muslims in their own quarters.

"I wouldn’t feel very safe."