On Thursday March 11, the newly re-elected International Olympics Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach announced on its official website that China has pledged to provide vaccines for athletes participating in the Tokyo Olympics this year and the Beijing Winter Olympics next year. The IOC will pay for the vaccines, and also affirmed that “any vaccination program must be conducted with full respect for national vaccination priorities.”
Chinese official media also announced “for every dose of vaccine that the International Olympic Committee purchases, China will also provide two additional doses of vaccine to delegations participating in the vaccination and they can provide them to the people of their own country.”
Wu’erkaixi, former student leader of the Tiananmen protests of 1989 and deputy secretary-general of the Taiwan Legislative Yuan’s Inter-party International Human Rights Promotion Association, pointed out that Beijing has used the International Olympic Committee as a pawn in its “vaccine diplomacy.”
Wu’erkaixi said, “Obviously China is attempting with this ‘vaccine diplomacy’ to shed its responsibilities in the spread of the virus. China has been trying to buy international organizations and then have them speak for China itself. I call on the world to reject the Chinese government’s ‘vaccine diplomacy’ very clearly. The IOC should not be the pawn of the Chinese government, nor should it be the advocate of China’s foreign propaganda.”
Guan Yao, a member of U.S. based think tank “Dialogue China,” also criticized the IOC for endorsing China when the quality of the Chinese vaccine is in question.
Guan said, “China uses vaccines as a means of diplomacy and propaganda. Now it is using the International Olympic Committee to sell it to the world. As an authoritative international organization, the IOC has made this decision even when there are disputes about the efficiency and safety of the Chinese vaccine. I think the IOC has become a propaganda tool of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Japan’s Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa said on Friday March 12 that the IOC had not consulted with Japan about the Chinese vaccines and that Japanese athletes would not take them. She said the vaccines have not been approved for use in Japan.
The Tokyo Olympics was originally scheduled to be held in the summer of last year, but it was postponed for one year due to the epidemic. More than 10,000 athletes are reportedly participating in the games.
Beijing is accused of committing genocide against Uyghurs and suppressing democracy in Hong Kong. More than 180 organizations and parliamentarians from many countries are calling on the International Olympic Committee and the world to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Source: Radio Free Asia, March 12, 2021