UK government says no plans for Ministers to attend Beijing Winter Olympics


Jacob Rees-Mogg – the Leader of the House of Commons – confirmed that “no tickets have been booked” for UK government ministers to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, speaking in the Chamber today. 

The announcement was made in response to a question from Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, co-chair of the cross-party Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, on whether the UK government would announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg answered: 

“…It is up to the British Olympics Committee to decide whether or not athletes go. As regards Government Ministers, whether they would wish to go to the People’s Republic of China, I can tell the honourable gentleman that no tickets have been booked.”

The announcement follows growing international momentum behind a diplomatic boycott of the Games, with the Biden Administration reportedly set to announce that no US government officials will be attending the Games. The move comes amidst global concern for Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who has appeared only in a series of staged Chinese state media announcements since her disappearance following allegations of sexual abuse made against a top Chinese Communist Party official. 

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a cross-party network of some 200 legislators internationally, has led parliamentary action in over 10 countries calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Games in response to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses in the Uyghur Region and Hong Kong. 

Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP said: 

“Today’s announcement that government ministers are not planning to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, whilst welcome, isn’t as yet a clear public statement. The Games will take place while the Chinese government commits industrial scale human rights abuses in the Uyghur Region, Tibet and sends near daily military incursions into Taiwan’s airspace. Add to that their arrest of peaceful democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong and the list of human rights abuses is enormous.

“That is why the U.K. government must now go one further and publicly confirm that no ministers, diplomats or other British officials will attend the games. We cannot lend any legitimacy to China’s despotic regime.”