By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, June 7: The Canadian PM Justin Trudeau on Friday said that the controversial Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics can offer a chance for concerned nations to press China for its human rights records, in an interview with Toronto Star. Trudeau said that only a united front would change China’s behaviour, adding that he would raise the matter at the G-7 (Group of Seven Leaders) summit next week.
“The pressure on China right now from the international community … is significantly acute, particularly with the Winter Olympics coming up in China next year. . . It would be easy for China … to shrug off what any one country, including just the United States alone, says. But when the global community comes together, that starts to shape their own calculations,” said the Canadian PM in a video interview.
However, the PM did not raise the matter of boycott or athletes staying away from the 2022 Games. This prospect of a ‘united front’ to call out Chinese brutality in East Turkestan, Tibet, among others, is followed by US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call for a diplomatic boycott of the games scheduled next year in February. Both Canada and US have passed resolutions in respective parliaments, saying that China’s treatment of the Uyghur community in Xinjiang region constitutes as ‘genocide’.
The Canadian Olympic Committee opposes a boycott, claiming it would not force a change to China’s human rights record. Earlier this year, the Committee stated that a boycott is “not the answer,” arguing the Games are meant to “help build connections” between nations. “We believe this amounts to little more than a convenient and politically inexpensive alternative to real and meaningful diplomacy. Boycotts don’t work,” it further said, adding that such a move would only punish the athletes.
China has previously condemned attempts by Canada to “politicize” the games, rejecting the accusations of human rights abuses as “falsehoods”.