A few weeks before several top Danish athletes were to leave for China to participate in the Winter Olympics, they were summoned to a meeting by Amnesty.
BT writes that although the background of the meeting was the upcoming Winter Olympics, the meeting was in several ways a warning to the Danish athletes.
The Danish athletes are stepping into a potential minefield in China when they have to speak to the press, promote themselves on social media, be in contact with the family back home in Denmark, and at the same time keep the current situation in China in mind.
They are – whether they want to or not – part of what critics of the Olympics in China call sports washing, which is a phenomenon where regimes with bad reputations try to get good PR by hosting a major sporting event, BT writes.
Therefore, Amnesty had invited about 100 Danish athletes and coaches to a zoom meeting.
Annette Stubkjær Rimmer, political adviser in the Danish branch of Amnesty explains, “We held a meeting with the Danish athletes a few weeks ago. Here we told them what is hiding behind the facade at the Olympics. It is so that they can express themselves if they want to, and so that they are aware and can relate to the situation in China.”
The Danish athletes were explained how they, as representatives of Denmark, will be part of China’s PR machine.
“We also told them about the censorship that is going on in China. And in that regard, we told them about Peng Shuai, which they as athletes can relate to better. We also briefly touched on the situation with the Uighurs in Xinjiang, which we have been calling crimes against humanity, ” Annette Stubkjær Rimmer says.
“We have tried to paint a realistic picture of the situation, which is gloomy,” she explains to BT.