- Concerns over human rights violations cause calls for the Beijing Games boycott.
- Canadian Conservative leader fears for Canadian athlete safety in China.
BEIJING - The 2022 Winter Olympics has been awarded to Beijing, a place that hosted the games previously in 2008. There are some people who are unhappy with this decision, feeling that China is currently an unfit country to host the Olympics.
Concerns For The Uyghurs
“The concern over what’s happening with the Uyghurs is not something we can turn away from. Let’s consider, in the rounds, what further action we can take,” said Dominic Raab, the British Foreign Secretary.
China stands accused by many of attempting to culturally erase the Uyghurs via demographic replacement, re-education camps, and imprisonment. This alleged political behavior has sparked talks of boycotts.
"The 2022 Olympics shouldn’t be in China. We gotta say: ‘China, until you become a legitimate country that is going to respect human rights, we’re not going to do business with you," said Rick Scott, a Florida Senator, to CNBC.
Research compiled by the Uyghur Human Rights Project suggests that China has imprisoned or detained at least 630 imams and other Muslim religious figures since 2014.
Separation Of Sports And State
There are more than 100 human rights groups currently calling for a boycott of the 2022 Olympics, but this has come across to some as an attempt to inappropriately politicize a sports event to enforce their worldview.
“Some organizations have linked the so-called human rights issues with the Beijing Winter Olympics in an attempt to put pressure on the Chinese side, which is a mistake to politicize the sports movement,” said Wang Wenbin, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
Executive Director for the International Olympic Committee Christophe Dubi seems to share the sentiment. “The Games are about sport and about the athletes, and this is a line we do not cross,” said Dubi.
Canada Worries For Athletes
Due to some recent tensions between Canada and China, Canadian Conservative leader Erin O'Toole questions the safety of Canadian athletes in Chinese borders.
In 2018, Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor was sentenced by China to 11 years in prison for spying just days after the Canadian government arrested senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. The Chinese government is also holding two other Canadians hostage by the names of Michael Korvig, and Robert Schellenberg.
“We’re going to be watching the decision very closely. Beijing has to know that the world is watching the genocide taking place against the Uyghurs. They’ve watched what’s been happening in Hong Kong and the situation with Mr Schellenberg, Mr Spavor and Mr Kovrig," said O'Toole.
In September, over international human rights groups teamed up to write a letter to the International Olympic Committee requesting the Games to be moved out of China. Being less than a year out from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, and with no indication that the committee is planning any changes, it's unlikely the games will be moved from Beijing.