Athletes should not need to worry about privacy infringement at the Olympics.

The 2022 Beijing Olympics kicked off on February 4 and athletes around the world are collecting to compete for spots on the podium. Current human rights issues in China have raised bright red flags on an international stage. Athletes representing their countries are currently being advised and encouraged to have burner phones in their possession to avoid monitoring and censorship of their conversations. Having such major issues being brought to light during a major event like the Olympics seems like a good time to address these issues, but with athletes still being in China, nations will have to make other moves to protect their athletes. 

The current attacks on Muslim people in China are horrific to watch, and the Olympics taking place in Beijing seem to have blanketed over the main issue. There are continued actions being taken by Chinese officials that are highlighting the issues we aren’t addressing. But with U.S. athletes and other international athletes still in Beijing, our government should make sure that we are protecting them from any censorship efforts being made against them. The Biden administration announcing a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics is a great start to the U.S. dealing with the Olympics. It’s the start of an international call-out of the Chinese government and their actions violating their Muslim citizens. For the safety of our athletes, a boycott seems to be the only thing anyone can do. 

Because free speech and expression are not protected in China like it is in the United States, athletes have to be extremely aware of what they’re sharing online. The fact that athletes have been advised to have a burner phone to use while at the games means there is an implied infringement on their privacy, and they need to take countermeasures in order to protect themselves. The Equinox thinks these actions should be taken seriously by spectators and the national stage. These nations coming together on a global stage means that the host country has a duty to protect athletes and uphold the respect they deserve after all the hard work they’re putting in. The fact that athletes have to worry about their privacy is scary to hear, and the safety of our athletes should be a top priority to the Olympic representatives. 

The Equinox hopes once all the athletes return to their home nations, that the major international presences make statements regarding the serious issues occurring in China. It should be known that the Olympics are a great stage where these athletes can showcase their incredibly hard and dedicated work. The one event people look forward to in the world of sports should be a place of peace, respect, and representation. Unfortunately, we are seeing the opposite, and The Equinox hopes there are no further complications, and that all Olympic participants return home safely. 

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