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Sochi 2014

Asia leaders join Sochi, not put off by Russia’s human rights record

Saturday, February 8, 2014

TOKYO — When top Western leaders decided to stay away from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Winter Olympics, he wasn’t exactly left friendless: he has the heads of leading Asian nations and others to help show the world that not everyone is put off by his human rights record and the anti-gay law he championed.

Alexei Nikolsky, RIA-Novosti  (Presidential Press Service)Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Alexei Nikolsky, RIA-Novosti (Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Koji Sasahara,   PAJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Koji Sasahara, PA
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Unlike President Barack Obama, who declined to attend the Sochi Olympics, the leaders of China and Japan — the world’s second and third largest economies — are attending. Both say they hope their visits will boost relations with Moscow.

In China and Japan, gay rights are not a hot-button political issue and officials say they do not link human rights with the Olympics.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, the highest-profile foreign head of state attending, congratulated Putin on the Olympics and hailed their countries’ growing ties, which frequently challenge Western domination of global affairs.

China’s state-controlled media have barely mentioned the Russian law that bans pro-gay “propaganda” that could be accessible to minors. It was signed by Putin in July.

That’s partly because of Beijing’s strict insistence on non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, but also a reflection of relatively little public discourse on gay rights.

Japanese leader Shinzo Abe was also attending the opening ceremony and is to meet with Putin on Saturday.

“Japan pays close attention to the human right situation in Russia, but we do not link it with Prime Minister Abe’s attendance at the Sochi Olympics,” Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.

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In Japan, awareness about minority rights — not just for gays, but also for migrant workers and ethnic Koreans — lags behind the West, said Sonoko Kawakami, campaign manager for Amnesty International Japan.

“The prime minister’s actions reflect that,” she said.

Skipping the event, in addition to Obama, are French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German President Joachim Gauck and Brazilian President Dilma Russeff.

Xi is the first Chinese head of state to attend the opening ceremony of an international sporting event outside of China.

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Filed under: Asia, Europe, Olympics

23 more reader comments:

  1. No surprises there, many Asian countries’ human rights records are appalling.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:43pm
  2. Figures!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:44pm
  3. Apparently, the only thing China’s Xi Jinping, and Japan’s Shinzo Abe can agree on is that they don’t give a f–k what happens to queers. Why doesn’t that surprise me?

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:48pm
  4. Not surprising given both China and Japan’s human rights records

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:49pm
  5. No pillows and no water

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:53pm
  6. Little dicks.. big egos

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:53pm
  7. sadly i’m not at all shocked, their treatment of people and animals is usually just as appalling

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:54pm
  8. Japan, South Korea, China young are pro gay rights we just have to wait a generation to see massive change for gay rights in east Asia while South East Asia is where Australia was in the 1980 s.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:54pm
  9. duh-

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:09pm
  10. cat eaters

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:14pm
  11. Are we really surprised?

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:18pm
  12. There it is friends. Fighting discrimination with rascism. Amazing.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:18pm
  13. Discrimination against Asian people isn't all that uncommon in the gay community.

    Replied on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:29pm
  14. Human rights Criminals! And Homophobes!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:28pm
  15. Yeah like China is a surprise! Lol!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:42pm
  16. TOTAL B.S FROM GAYS…ALL GAYS DO IS MAKE EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM…yet their the most judgemental and racist people in the world…not to also mention hypocritical also…when natives are out trying to get and fight for rights and for the north american goverments to stop thier treatment of natives and the native culture all of a sudden gays start whining and bitchin about some kind of crap…this olympics should be about the hard work of the athletes and that they finally after all these years made it to the SHOW…yet here are gays taking away thier spotlight for themsleves…and yet if people step up and say something gays go out and call them a gay hater and such…let me ask you..how much blood did the north american goverments spill of your blood..cause its known fact that they wiped out numerous NATIVE COMMUNITIES and such and yet when we as a people try to get some where with our fights and even have the WHO stating the same thing you clowns come in and say vote so we can get married or some kind of bullshit…you see on certain t.v show that are run by gays slam natives and native culture and other races yet they cant be racist dicks cause thier GAY…its funny how to oppessed be come the ones that become so good at being the ones to make other suffer…

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:55pm
  17. You're awfully angry, Chris.

    Replied on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:11pm
  18. So Chris, gay people being beaten up and MURDERED because they are as God made them, is something not to speak out about? I'd like to know where you get your "facts" (HAAA HAAA!) from.

    Replied on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:15pm
  19. typical gay...say they get beat up and murdered...ok lets play your game...if they keep mouth shut and not make any comments THAN HOW THE FUCK DO PEOPLE AND HATERS KNOW YOUR GAY?...BUT BEING NATIVE THOSE SAME HATERS KNOW JUST BY THE SKIN COLOUR AND THEY KILL US NATIVES THEY TAKE OUR LAND THEY THROW US IN JAIL...YET IF A GAY JUST SHUTS THE FUCK UP HE WALKS AND BECOMES THE OPPRESSED...NATIVES OR BLACKS OR ANY MINORTY DOESNT HAVE THAT LUXURY....point being is you put your b.s crap along side and compare it to the natives and blacks problems...how many natives are and have been accepted...and how many gay shows and gays are accepted...exactly you have freedom to be gay...NATIVES DONT HAVE THAT LUXURY...so before you all open your damn mouths know this....500 YEARS OF BEING MURDERED AND KILLED OFF AND HAVING OUR LAND STOLEN FROM US...in movies where slammed in t.v where called "INDIANS" thats like you all be called fags..or blacks being called niggers..and just how many of you called a native an INDIAN...exactly your just as guilty as the rest of them...MAYBE BUDDY YOU SHOULD LEARN A FEW THINGS OR SO BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR FLAP....

    Replied on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:25pm
  20. They always kiss up to the strong-man.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:59pm
  21. They both suck

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:01pm
  22. Well, to be honest, Asia isn’t exactly the hallmark country for human rights. No surprise. Soulless pricks.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:12pm
  23. Of course this Dick tator isn’t. But We should be and not present there!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:19pm