Britain’s parliament has kicked off the movement to boycott the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing due to China’s atrocities it is committing against its Uighur population.
British members of parliament (MP) on Thursday unanimously voted to diplomatically boycott the Olympics, which is also the latest punitive move by a Western nation against China’s atrocities the Uighurs.
The motion, which is non-binding, states the House of Commons believes the Olympic games should not be held in a country “whose government is credibly accused of mass atrocity crimes” while calling on the British government, including members of the royal family, to decline invitations to attend the event unless Beijing ends its persecution of its Muslim minority citizens in northwestern Xinjiang.
It also calls for the boycott to be in place until sanctions China imposed earlier this year on British politicians who criticized its treatment of its Uighur citizens are rescinded.
Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who introduced the motion and was among the British officials sanctioned by China in March, told the House prior to the vote that China’s hosting of the Olympic Games in 2008 “was a sham.”
He said that China had made numerous promises concerning improving human rights to earn the games, but since they have been held the situation in the Asian nation has further deteriorated.
“The awarding of the 2008 Olympics to Beijing was accompanied by the International Olympics Committee promising the games would act as a catalyst for human rights reform in China,” he said.
“Well, a widely acknowledged genocide in Xinjiang later. Thousands of Tibetans arrested and imprisoned, displaced, tortured and killed later. The snuffing out of free speech, free press and political freedoms in Hong Kong and the trashing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and imposition of the national security law later,” he said. “That went well didn’t it.”
He said if China is allowed to hold these forthcoming games as it wishes it will normalize its behavior while handing it “the mayor soft power propaganda victory it craves.”
To politically boycott the games, Loughton said, would tell the Xi regime that Britain will not turn “a blind eye” to its crimes and convince the government “they need to enact a boycott so that no ministers, diplomats, royal family members and other VIPs dance to the tune of the Chinese Communist Party.”
“The loss of face [China] will suffer will show how serious the United Kingdom is,” he said.
MP Iain Duncan Smith, who was also sanctioned by China in March, told the politicians during the debate period that the measure isn’t simply a token as China is “sensitive” to criticism.
“Our government must recognize now it is no longer dealing with a decent organization that would uphold freedoms; it’s dealing with a dictatorial, militaristic, intolerant, oppressive regime who every time we give them these public demonstrations as the Olympics we do ourselves, and worse the Uighur and the Tibetans and all those oppressed peoples a disfavor,” he said.