IOC president Thomas Bach met Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing on Saturday, with the two men expressing their opposition to the “politicisation of sport,” according to official media.
“China will never stop spreading the Olympic spirit,” Li told the International Olympic Committee chief, according to comments reported by state television CCTV.
“We are willing to work with the IOC to oppose the politicisation of sport and make new and greater contributions to the Olympic movement,” he added.
Bach said the IOC was ready to defend the Olympic spirit and resist the politicisation of sport, according to CCTV, stating the IOC’s traditional position.
According to the Olympic Charter which calls for the political neutrality of the movement, “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
Before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, China had been criticised for its treatment of Uyghurs in the northwest Xinjiang region, which has been hit by attacks blamed on separatists and Islamists from the Muslim minority.
Beijing has imposed tight controls over the population there in the name of fighting extremism.
China has been accused for years of detaining more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslims in the region. Beijing has vehemently rejected the claims.
A few months before the Games, tennis player Peng Shuai, a former world doubles number one, had alleged in a social media post that a former Chinese vice-premier had forced her into sex during a relationship of several years, but has since denied she accused anyone of sexual assault.
The WTA, which oversees women’s tennis, then announced at the end of 2021 the suspension of its tournaments in China over concerns about the safety of Peng, who had not been seen outside China since making, and then withdrawing, her accusations.
China denounced the boycott as a “politicisation of sport”.
Peng briefly appeared as a spectator at the Winter Games, where she met Bach.
The IOC president will travel to the eastern city of Hangzhou and Shanghai in the coming days, according to the Xinhua news agency.
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