The campaign to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Games gained fresh momentum this week as MPs from the Conservative and Labour parties urged the government not to send representatives to the Games next year.
On Tuesday, Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said in an interview that Labour backed a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games, adding that failure to act against widespread human rights abuses would be a “major PR coup for the Chinese government”.
Today during Prime Minister’s Questions, Tim Loughton, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, asked the Prime Minister whether he would back a motion to boycott next year’s Winter Games given the repression against Tibetans and Uyghurs.
The motion (“Beijing Winter Olympics and Chinese Government sanctions”) will be debated next Thursday 15 July, having been put forward by Tim Loughton. Its full wording is:
“That this House believes that the 2022 Winter Olympic games should not be hosted in a country whose Government is credibly accused of mass atrocity crimes; and calls on the UK Government to decline invitations for its representatives to attend the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games unless the Government of the People’s Republic of China ends the atrocities taking place in the Xinjiang region and lifts the sanctions imposed on UK Parliamentarians, citizens and entities.”
The announcement of the debate comes just under two weeks after Free Tibet and friends from Hong Kong, Tibet and Uyghur organisations, carried out a banner drop and a well-attended protest in London as part of a Global Day of Action.
Free Tibet’s Boycott Beijing 2022 campaign is calling for a full boycott by both the UK government and the British Olympics Association, although the parliamentary debate will focus on a diplomatic boycott as the British Olympic Association has to be independent from politics.
The 2022 Winter Olympics mean that Beijing is set to become the first city in the world to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics. When the Chinese Communist Party hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008, non-violent protests took place across Tibet against the Chinese repression. The largely non-violent protests were brutally suppressed. Thousands of Tibetans were detained after the protest. Tibet was then virtually sealed off from the world and has been ever since.