Another proposal is to move the Games to one or more other countries, perhaps holding it a year later. Of course, that would require the support of the IOC, which has no process for such a move. Any attempt to persuade IOC leaders and member countries would have to have started years ago. In any event, no country is volunteering to take on the significant expense, not to mention the wrath of China.

A diplomatic boycott is now under consideration in the United States. It has bipartisan support, and other countries are expected to join. But Beijing has already signalled that only Chinese residents will be permitted to attend sporting events, and there are tight COVID-19 protocols, so this may only impact diplomats who already live in China. However, a diplomatic boycott is an initiative that could attract more nations, including Canada, to sign on.

But a diplomatic boycott is not enough. More powerful would be an athletes’ boycott of the opening and closing ceremonies.

These ceremonies are where the host country puts on a big extravaganza for the world. Some athletes already skip the opening ceremonies when their sport is being held in the several days following; they’re resting up to focus on their performance. Athletes themselves have it in their power to sit out the ceremonies in recognition of genocide, and to focus on their sport, which is why they’re there.

This would take strong leadership from a few prominent athletes to generate widespread athlete support for such action, and ideally in Canada it would have the tacit support of the COC. An athletes’ boycott of the ceremonies would send a strong message, and could be a big loss of face for China, on top of a diplomatic boycott.

And ultimately it comes down to you and me. It is within the power of each of us to boycott the Genocide Olympics. It may seem like a small thing simply to not watch coverage on TV.  But wouldn’t be at all small if millions did it. Certainly, advertisers would take notice and the message would register with Beijing that people around the world are disgusted by China’s treatment of its own citizens — whether it is one lone Olympian or millions of Uyghurs.

Margaret McCuaig-Johnston is a former Assistant Deputy Minister in the Canadian Government, and is now focused on China issues as a Senior Fellow with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.