The Beijing Olympics, doping and human rights in China

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Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, competes in the women's free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, competes in the women's free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The Beijing Olympics concludes this Sunday after two weeks of incredible competition, athleticism, and heart wrenching defeats. Among the U.S. athletes, we’ve watched Nathan Chen’s gold-winning performance, the struggles of star alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, and Shaun White’s tearful goodbye after he narrowly missed the podium. The games have also been marred by the doping scandal surrounding 15-year-old Russian skater Kamila Valieva, but overshadowing it all has been China’s record of human rights abuses, especially the targeting of Uyghur Muslims and crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. While athletes have been warned about speaking out against the Olympics’ host country, activists have been vocal. This hour, we’ll reflect on the games, revelations about the authoritarian state of China and the country’s persecution of the Uyghur people.

GUESTS

Robert Samuels, national political enterprise reporter and figure skating analyst for The Washington Post, who also covers figure skating @newsbysamuels

Allysa Roenigk, senior writer for ESPN @alyroe

Jewher Ilham, Uyghur advocate and author @jewherilham

Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch @sophieHRW

Recommended reading

The Washington Post, The drama surrounding Kamila Valieva exposes a sport that has lost its way – “An isolated champion, a crestfallen favorite with a positive drug test and a disgruntled silver medalist — all within feet of one another. What has become of this sport?”

ESPN, Eileen Gu wins gold in women’s ski halfpipe for third medal at Beijing Olympics – “But in her second run, she went even higher on her opening-hit 900 and added more spins and technicality, including back-to-back alley-oop flat spin 540s in her final two hits. She was awarded a nearly untouchable 95.25, a score that held for the remainder of the contest.”

The Guardian, Only an international effort can put an end to China’s crimes in Xinjiang  – “As the daughter of a Uyghur economist imprisoned for life, I call on governments and the UN to act together.”

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