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British freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to allow countries that have “appalling human rights stances” to host the Games and questioned China’s suitability to stage the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Rights groups have long criticized the IOC for awarding the Feb. 4-20 Games to China, citing its treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the western Xinjiang region, which the United States has deemed genocide.

China has consistently denied allegations of human rights abuses and said it opposes the “politicization” of sports.

Kenworthy, who claimed a silver medal in slopestyle at Sochi in 2014 for Team USA before switching allegiance to Britain in 2019, said the IOC had to take a stance to bring about change.

“I don’t think any country should be allowed to host the Games if they have appalling human rights stances,” Kenworthy told the BBC.

“The IOC should take a stance against a lot of these atrocities and stand up for important issues and by not granting those countries the right to host the Games, they could create positive change... maybe not even letting them compete.

“But it’s all about money, it seems like ... I don’t really think they’re well suited to host the Games.”

The IOC has said human rights will be protected for all Games participants as part of the host contract, but emphasized that it does not have the power or mandate to change laws or interfere with a sovereign state.

Kenworthy said he would continue to protest in Beijing by speaking up for what he believes in.