First-ever Tibet-based athletes to compete in Winter Olympics
BEIJING— Two Tibet-based athletes will next month become the first from the western frontier region of China to participate in a Winter Olympics after qualifying for Beijing, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.
The Games will also include five competitors from China’s western Xinjiang region, media there reported, including two ethnic Kazakhs, one Uyghur, one Kyrgyz and one from China’s Han majority.
Overseas Tibetan and Uyghur rights groups have called for an international boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which begin on Feb 4, to protest against what they say are human rights abuses in Tibet and the majority Muslim Xinjiang region.
China denies any rights abuses, and says it opposes the “politicization” of sports.
Tibetans Yongqing Lamu and Ciren Zhandui, both 18, will compete in snowboarding and cross-country skiing, respectively, Xinhua said.
The report did not specify their ethnicity, but both have Tibetan-sounding names and were born in the Tibet Autonomous Region, where ethnic Tibetans make up over 80% of the population.
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