John Peder Egenæs, Secretary General of Amnesty International in Norway, calls it a political stunt by the Chinese authorities.
The Olympic flame was lit in Beijing on Friday.
Cross-country skier Dinigeer Yilamujian and the combined athlete Zhao Jiawen were given the honorable assignment.
That attracts attention. For Dinigeer Yilamujian, it belongs to a Muslim and in China strongly oppressed minority Uighur.
– I do not think this is coincidental. There has been a great deal of criticism of the Chinese authorities’ treatment of the Uighurs. When then one of the two who do the most symbolic in the games is Uighur, then it is something the Chinese authorities do consciously, Egenæs says to Aftenposten. He has also spoken to earlier tonight Dagbladet.
“The opening ceremony is followed as a defeat,” writes Aftenposten’s commentator.
One million detained
Yilamujian is from northern Xinjiang province.
According to human rights organizations, close to a million Uighurs have been detained here in re-education camps where there are countless human rights violations. The goal should be to achieve “ethnic wholeness”. Chinese authorities deny this claiming that the camps are voluntary.
Violations of human rights are the reason why a number of Western authorities have a diplomatic boycott of the games.
That this particular cross-country skier gets to light the Olympic flame Egenæs calls a propaganda and PR show from the authorities in Beijing.
– It is sports washing to the utmost potency. I think it is a way they try to tell the world that we have nothing against the Uighurs, those we put in camps have done something wrong, says Egenæs.
Has trained in Norway
The Norwegian ski sport’s ties to the Chinese winter sports initiative have been much debated recently.
Dinigeer Yilamujian is one of those who has been here a lot. On instagram account she poses on roller skis in Holmenkollen, among other places. She has also competed in Norway, among other things, there are pictures of her from the Beitos sprint in 2020.
According to a video on the Youtube channel for the Beijing Olympics, she has trained in Norway for the past three years.
According to the Labor Party, in 2019 she became the first Chinese cross-country skier to win a medal in an FIS race when she came in second place in the opening sprint in Beijing.
She is still not believed to be a big favorite for those podium places.
In the WC In 2021, she came in 41st place in 10 kilometers, and 13th place in team sprint.