An international network of parliamentarians has announced a series of coordinated legislative actions on the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in light of widespread human rights abuses, with parliamentary interventions across 11 legislatures including the US, Canada, United Kingdom and European Union announced today.
In a statement launching the campaign, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) highlighted the incompatibility of Olympics principles with the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing gross violations of human rights and called for urgent action from political leaders and national representatives to reach a solution that makes clear the world does not condone and will not whitewash these ongoing crimes. An excerpt from the statement, the full version of which is attached, said:
“The Olympic Games are an opportunity for people across the world to unite in a shared celebration of sport, friendship and solidarity – a celebration which should transcend national and political divides.
We, the Co-Chairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, are of the shared belief that this cannot be reconciled with holding the Games in a country whose government stands credibly accused of perpetrating atrocity crimes against its own population. To do so discredits the ethos of the Olympic movement and undermines its purpose.”
Parliamentary initiatives on the Beijing Olympics have been announced by IPAC Members across the following legislatures:
- United States: A bipartisan resolution led by Representatives Tom Malinowski and Mike Gallagher, and supported by Chair Gregory Meeks and Ranking Member Michael McCaul of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, has been submitted to Congress calling on the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to initiate an “emergency search process” for a suitable replacement venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics given ongoing crimes against humanity committed by the host government.
- United Kingdom: Tim Loughton MP has submitted for a Backbench Business Committee debate on the UK’s representation at the Beijing Olympics, alongside a cross-party Early Day Motion calling for UK officials to boycott the games tabled by MPs Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Siobhain McDonagh and Alistair Carmichael.
- European Parliament: Engin Eroglu MEP has submitted a formal parliamentary question asking the European Council to reconsider whether EU representatives should attend the Beijing Olympics and to issue advice to European firms acting as commercial sponsors for the game. The question has been co-signed by a group of 10 cross-party MEPs.
- Germany: Gyde Jensen MdB has submitted a question to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas calling on the German government to make a public commitment to staging a diplomatic boycott of the Games.
- Canada: Garnett Genuis MP addressed the Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau in the House of Commons, calling on the government to decline invitations to the Games so long as atrocities continue in the Uyghur Region.
- Italy: Senator Lucio Malan will deposit a motion encouraging broadcasters to use the opportunity presented by the Beijing Olympic Games to dedicate programme time to discussions of human rights issues in China.
- Czechia: A resolution submitted by Senator Pavel Fischer calling on government leaders not to attend the Games and for UN officials to investigate atrocities in the Uyghur and Tibetan Regions will be debated in the Senate this week.
- Switzerland: Fabian Molina MP will submit an interpellation to the Federal Council calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Games and asking what guarantees the IOC has sought on press freedoms during the Games.
- Sweden: Fredrik Malm MP will formally call upon the Minister of Foreign Affairs to state before the Riksdag its policy on whether government representatives should attend the Beijing Olympics.
- Denmark: Uffe Elbaek MP has submitted a question to the Minister of Culture asking for the government to publicly state that members of the royal family and government should decline invitations to attend the Games.
- Lithuania: Dovilė Šakalienė, IPAC Co-Chair from Lithuanian Parliament, Member of National Security and Defense Committee, together with Žygimantas Pavilionis, Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, are preparing to register a resolution calling for government officials to decline invitations to attend the Beijing Olympics.
Congressman Tom Malinowski, Vice Chair of the United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said:
“The International Olympic Committee should not be validating the Chinese government’s international standing while that government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity.”
“This coordinated effort by legislators in multiple democratic countries sends a message the IOC cannot ignore: if it can discuss postponing the Tokyo Games over public health concerns, it can certainly move the China games over the mass incarceration of millions in concentration camps.”
Congressman Mike Gallagher said:
“Authoritarian regimes have a long and troubling history of using the Olympics to whitewash their crimes and disseminate propaganda on a global scale. Given the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang, it is unconscionable that the free world would proceed with the 2022 games with business as usual.”
“I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the U.S. and across the free world in pushing for action that respects the Chinese Communist Party’s millions of victims, as well as the right to free expression of athletes and media worldwide.”
Tim Loughton MP said:
“The intentions of the Chinese government in holding the Winter Olympics are quite clear. The Games are a golden chance to build China’s soft power and distract from the horrific abuses taking place in the Uyghur Region, Tibet and Hong Kong. Our government must see through this. Any political leaders attending the Games risk acting as willing agents in Beijing’s propaganda campaign.”
Engin Eroglu MEP said:
“The International Olympics Committee cannot claim to uphold its founding principles of solidarity and non-discrimination while at the same time turning a blind eye to mass atrocity crimes taking place in the Uyghur Region. This isn’t a question of politics or national interest, this is about respecting fundamental human rights.”
Gyde Jensen MdB said:
“Of course the Olympics should stay above politics. Ignoring crimes of mass atrocity is not a sign of staying above politics, though, it‘s quite a political statement itself. Human rights are universal and belong to all people. Not only is our international cooperation based on this idea. It is also an essential part of the Olympic spirit.”
Fabian Molina MP said:
“Before hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government made empty promises to improve its human rights record. Over a decade later, more than one million Uyghurs and other groups have been imprisoned in brutal so-called ‘re-education’ camps. The Chinese government cannot be allowed to use the 2022 Winter Olympics to whitewash over these abuses. Political leaders must decline invitations to attend the Games.”
Uffe Elbaek MP said:
“China is in the midst of its darkest period for human rights since the Tiananmen Square massacre. It’s important that democracies take every opportunity to stand up against human rights abuses whenever it’s given.”