Two female students were detained by Greek police on Sunday, Oct. 17, as they attempted to hang a banner on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, in protest against the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games (OG).

Tsela Zoksang, an 18-year-old Tibetan student, and Joey Siu, 22, an exiled Hong Kong activist, both U.S. citizens, are members of the “No to Beijing 2022” campaign, according to a statement from Students for a Free Tibet.

According to AP, the two students and a third person, whose name was not disclosed, entered the archaeological site pretending to be tourists and, after climbing a scaffolding, they tried to unfurl a banner, but a policeman rushed at them and snatched it away.

Both students then managed to unfurl a Tibetan flag and a smaller banner that read “Free Hong Kong Revolution”, while shouting phrases such as “Free Tibet,” “Boycott Beijing 2022” and “No freedom, no Games.”

Following the incident that lasted 10 minutes, Athens police arrived and quickly arrested the two protesters.

In a statement from Students for a Free Tibet, Zoksang said that “Now it is time for the international community, and all people of conscience, to take a stand and boycott Beijing 2022; anything less will be a clear endorsement of China’s genocidal regime.”

Meanwhile, Siu referred to the neutral stance taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which said it will not pressure China over its human rights record and added:

“The IOC is sending the world a message that it is ok to turn a blind eye to genocide and crimes against humanity in Hong Kong, Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia.”

The Beijing Winter Games will be held from Feb. 4-20, 2022, and the Paralympics from March 4-13.

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, John Coates, IOC vice president, rejected calls from human rights groups and U.S. authorities stating that China should be challenged over its severe persecution of ethnic and religious minorities.

“We have no ability to go into a country and tell them what to do. All we can do is to award the Olympics to a country, under conditions set out in a host contract … and then ensure they are followed,” Coates argued to reporters at a press conference in the National Press Club of Australia.

Several groups are calling for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 OG in solidarity with the millions of people who are victims of forced labor at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Human rights groups and independent researchers have suggested that, at least, one million Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minorities, including practitioners of the spiritual discipline called Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong), are being brutally persecuted and imprisoned. 

In addition to mass arrests and labor exploitation, the CCP imposes forced abortions, sterilizations, and involuntary birth control methods on the persecuted. It also perpetrates one of the most abhorrent acts known to mankind: forced organ harvesting from living people for profits.

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