Posted on Mar 08, 2021
A conference at the Brussels Press Club on Monday heard arguments in favour of Beijing being stripped of the 2022 Winter Olympics because of its repression of its Uyghur Muslim minority in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, or for a boycott of the spectacle.
"I hope that all the EU countries could get together to decide to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics", said Finnish Green MEP Alviina Alametsa.
She continued, "It is positive that the EU has condemned China's human rights violations... we now have to choose what are the lines that China cannot cross without consequences, but to me the lines have already been passed."
Co-founder and CEO of Hong Kong Watch, Benedict Rogers was in agreement, stating that "with regard to the Winter Olympics, either a boycott, or if we can put pressure on the IOC to think about moving the Olympics even at this late stage, my understanding is that some political groups in Canada have called for this, and have offered Canada as an alternative location, and there are a number of European countries of course that have the capability to host Winter Olympics."
Senior parliamentarian Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the British Conservative party, who is leading the debate in his country's parliament on the imposition of "Magnitsky" sanctions against the Chinese leadership, and who addressed the Brussels conference on that particular issue has also been vocal in calling for a boycott.
I think that the Government should boycott the Olympics. Given the nature of all that is going on, the appalling behaviour of China across a whole range of issues, sadly it’s not just what I believe to be the genocide of the Uyghurs. It’s also the fact they have got half a million Tibetans in forced labour camps, and they have been attacking Christians, killed some Indian soldiers on their border, have taken over south China seas and are now beginning to decree those from inner Mongolia, which is part of China, cannot speak their own language, and of course Hong Kong, where they just simply decided to trash their agreement with us.
The conference was reminded of the 1936 Olympics - Hitler's Olympics - and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics which placed Russia centre stage just days before Vladimir Putin launched his troops into Ukrainian Crimea. "Should China be given such a propaganda coup?" was the question asked.
Sir Iain responded to this, saying "we saw what happened in the run-up to the Second World War with the refusal to accept the nature of the regime in Germany - what we called in the UK 'appeasement' - in the hope that somehow this would change them, when in fact it didn't do anything else but just fed them with their own ability to strengthen. So the answer is very simple: governments have to make decisions and balance this."
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