By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, July 9: The European parliament on Thursday passed a resolution calling on diplomats to boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics in response to continuing human rights violations by the Chinese government. The non-binding resolution also called for the European countries to impose sanctions and provide emergency visas to Hong Kongers who want to move to Europe. It was passed with 578 votes in favour, 29 votes against, along with 73 abstentions; supported by superpowers including Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron.
The resolution urged EU officials to shun all government and diplomatic invitations to the 2022 Winter Games “unless the Chinese government demonstrates a verifiable improvement in the human rights situation in Hong Kong, the Xinjiang Uyghur region, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and elsewhere in China”. The 28-point document noted the shutdown of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and prosecution of staff and owners of the paper.
China’s state-backed mouthpiece Global Times decried that the passing of such a resolution was “a collection of the most radical and extreme ideologies in western society, providing a stage for various political vices attempting to draw wide attention”. It further added that the European parliament was just attempting to “achieve the loudest voice and biggest impact” without any facts or responsibility, and advised the body to “restrain themselves”.
The EU Parliament vote was yet another sign of souring ties between Brussels and Beijing, which deteriorated in May this year when the two sides imposed a series of sanctions over China’s human rights record that blocked the ratification of a huge bilateral investment deal. The resolution said the deal would stay blocked until China lifted sanctions on EU MPs and scholars. On Wednesday, a UK parliamentary committee also issued a report calling for a “diplomatic boycott” of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, urging PM Boris Johnson to condemn human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet.