By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, July 17: The UK parliament on Thursday unanimously backed the motion calling for a ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the Beijing Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing in February. Although a non-binding resolution, the motion stated that the international Games should not be entertained as China continues to commit mass atrocities in occupied regions.
MP Tim Loughton tabled the motion last week urging PM Johnson to condemn human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet. “How on earth does a genocidal, industrial-scale human rights-abusing, free speech intolerant and planet vandalising regime square with [Olympic] ideals?” asked Loughton before the voting began on Thursday. He added that Britain should decline invitations for its representatives to attend the Olympics next year unless the Chinese government “ends the atrocities”.
The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet Loughton who is currently subject to Chinese sanctions said, “The awarding of the 2008 Olympics to Beijing was accompanied by the International Olympics Committee promising that the Games would act as a catalyst for human rights reform in China.” Labour MP Navendu Mishra also spoke about the 2008 protests during the Summer Olympics, “At the last Olympics held in China in 2008, thousands of Tibetans took to the streets to protest and were brutally suppressed, with hundreds killed. The full number of deaths remains unknown.”
Conservative former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, also one of the sanctioned MPs, said allowing China to go ahead with the Olympics next year is similar to “appeasing Hitler”. “We have forgotten what happened when we appeased another ghastly dictatorship. Sixty million people died as a result of our failure when we appeased them and we are on the same course today,” he further added.
The European parliament earlier this month voted through a resolution with a large majority that called on the European Commission, European Council and EU countries to “decline invitations to government representatives and diplomats to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics 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.”