A broadcast boycott is the last chance to mount serious resistance against the Beijing Olympic Games

Another option:

On Sept. 7, a group of 200 human rights groups wrote to Olympic broadcasters, including the CBC and NBC, asking them to cancel their coverage of the upcoming Beijing Winter Games and refrain from “sport washing” China’s lengthy list of human rights abuses

In doing so, the human rights groups aim to hit the International Olympic Committee (IOC) where it hurts most — its bank account. The IOC’s sale of broadcasting rights accounts for a whopping 73 per cent of its funding. Much of this is distributed to National Olympic Committees, propping up the broader Olympic system.

The COC and CPC can’t help

The call for a broadcast boycott came months after a coalition of 180 human rights groups issued an open letter to international governments back in February, urging nations to withdraw from Beijing 2022. In Canada, the Liberal government passed the buck to leaders of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC).

Reacting to the letter, the chief executive officers of the COC and the CPC — David Shoemaker and Karen O’Neill respectively — penned a joint op-ed in The Globe and Mail, predictably recycling an old anti-boycott argument.

“Boycotts don’t work. They punish only the athletes prevented from going, those they were meant to compete against and those who would have been inspired by them.”

But that’s not exactly true.

Writing on the international community’s sporting boycott of Apartheid South Africa, historian John Nauright suggests that “the psychological impact of sporting sanctions had perhaps the most potent role in undermining white South African confidence and complacency.” 

Although the Olympic boycott alone didn’t topple apartheid, it was part of an important range of sanctions that ultimately wore down the racist regime.

The COC and CPC’s response is to be expected. Both organizations are embedded in the Olympic industry and have a lot to lose. The COC is partially funded by the IOC, and the COC and CPC have already accepted funding from private sponsors to prepare for 2022.

Both Shoemaker and O’Neill are beholden to their respective board of directors, limiting their ability to rock the Olympic and Paralympic boat. In fact, the head of every national Olympic committee is, by definition, an IOC mouthpiece.

China’s human rights abuses are persistent and documented

The situation in China remains grim. Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are detained in massive concentration camps and reduced to forced labour. Tibetans continue to struggle under what Human Rights Watch terms “coercive assimilationist policies” intended to strangle and extinguish their culture.

Pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong were recently sentenced to up to five years in prison for participating in an anti-government march in 2019. Freedoms of religion, assembly, expression and speech are stifled. And those who attempt to flee are subject to recapture, imprisonment and torture.

The IOC is likely well informed about China’s human rights abuses. After all, its report, “Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy” was co-authored by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who had first-hand experience working with the country. Hussein lamented over China’s lack of co-operation, noting that his staff “have not been given unfettered access to the country, including to the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the human rights situation is reportedly fast deteriorating.”

The IOC won’t budge

The IOC has a long history of paying lip service when it comes to human rights issues. For example, the Olympic Games routinely result in the displacement and abuse of host populations. No amount of lobbying from rights groups makes a difference. The IOC views hosting decisions in dollars and cents, and the cancellation of a single Games would mean billions in lost revenue.

When asked about China and human rights issues, IOC President Thomas Bach refused to denounce the country, skirting the question with vague assurances of peaceful internationalism.

In 2015, just seven years removed from the human rights debacle that was the Beijing 2008 Olympics — including the intimidation and imprisonment of those who dared resist the event — the IOC once again awarded Beijing the Games, this time for the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

It was a controversial decision. Few nations wanted the Olympics, resulting in a two bid race between China and Kazakhstan, neither of which boast a strong human rights record. By selecting Bejing, the IOC chose to be complicit in China’s violation of human rights. 

Bigger than sport

The call for a broadcast boycott opens the door for international broadcasters to do something truly noble — take a stand in support of human rights and refuse to show the 2022 Beijing Olympics. As public and private national broadcasters respectively, the CBC and NBC are beholden to the general public above all else. Not national Olympic and Paralympic Committees. Not advertisers. Not the government. The people.

According to one recent poll, a majority of Canadians — amounting to 64 per cent of those surveyed — either “support” or “somewhat support” boycotting the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games. Americans, meanwhile, are nearly split down the middlewith 49 per cent supporting a boycott. As the Games edge closer, and China’s human rights violations inevitably face heightened scrutiny, the support to boycott will continue to grow.

Many people want to support the Uyghurs, Tibetans, pro-democracy advocates and others struggling for their human rights in China. As national broadcasters, the CBC and NBC can help people do just that. If international broadcasters choose not to boycott the Beijing Olympic Games, they will be complicit in the human rights abuses ongoing in China.

Source: https://theconversationcanada.cmail20.com/t/r-l-trqkijd-kyldjlthkt-f/

Could Olympics offer leverage against China’s ‘hostage diplomacy’?

More discussion regarding potential boycott of the Beijing winter olympics. Good comments by former ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques:

The looming espionage convictions of two Canadians in what has been called an act of “hostage diplomacy” should push this country to take a tougher stand toward the Chinese regime — and a hard look at the upcoming Beijing Olympics, observers say.

Verdicts in the cases of the so-called two Michaels — Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig — were expected this week, with Spavor’s verdict anticipated as early as Tuesday evening.

The outcome scarcely seemed in doubt. The conviction rate in China is 99.7 per cent, as touted by China’s own Supreme People’s Court.

A third Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, had his death sentence upheld Monday as a Chinese court rejected his appeal. He had been sentenced in January 2019 on charges of drug trafficking.

All three Canadians are widely believed to have been targeted by China in retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is going through extradition proceedings in Vancouver that would send her to the United States to face fraud charges related to her company’s dealings with Iran.

The Chinese executive comes from a powerhouse family in China with influence in both the political and business world, and her arrest in December 2018 at the Vancouver airport was seen by Beijing as a grave insult. Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and Spavor, an entrepreneur, were arrested in China days after Meng was detained in a tactic that observers have dubbed “hostage-taking diplomacy.”

Beijing has made it clear that they will not release the men unless Meng walks free.

So, what is Canada — a small player on the international scene — to do as tensions mount and the fate of the three detainees grows bleaker? The country finds itself stuck between two of the world’s most powerful nations in China and the U.S., which has an extradition treaty with Canada and holds most of the cards in the geopolitical situation swirling around the prisoners.

Former Canadian ambassador to China, Guy Saint-Jacques, says this country could reach out to its allies and lobby that the Winter Olympics, set to take place in Beijing in February, be taken off the table and perhaps even relocated to North America.

“What does a country need to do for the world to decide, ‘Well, this country does not deserve to host the Games?’” he said.

“We know there’s a genocide going on in Xinjiang; we know they aren’t respecting the agreement with the UK on the autonomy of Hong Kong; we know how badly they managed the first phase of the pandemic; we know what they are doing in the South China Sea, how aggressive they are towards Taiwan.”

Should the Games continue to be held in Beijing anyway, there should be an agreement that no foreign leaders attend the opening ceremony, he said.

“You make this public and tell China, ‘This is what’s going to take place unless you agree to a full investigation … in Xinjiang,’” he said, referring to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region where reports of genocide carried out by China have caused international condemnation.

“China will use it for political purposes, for its prestige,” said Saint-Jacques.

Clive Ansley, retired from 36 years of legal practice in both Canada and China, who now works as a consultant on legal issues related to China, said there are well-documented human rights abuses in China and called the idea of the Games being held there “absolutely obscene.”

Ansley cautioned, though, that using Olympics as leverage poses risks.

“It’s almost like a kind of blackmail,” he said, adding that negotiating on that front could make the situation look like it’s politically driven, rather than driven by the principle of law and Canada’s treaty obligations to the United States.

Ansley said he supports continuing the extradition process for Meng — as bad as the situation facing the detainees is.

“We can’t just walk away from that,” he said. “Because the result of that would be an absolute guarantee that every time we have a dispute with China, their first recourse will be hostage diplomacy. Their first instinct will be to grab the nearest Canadian.”

Both Sainte-Jacques and Ansley said that the world has to consider tough trade sanctions on China.

“China, under the Chinese Communist Party, is an international outlaw,” said Ansley. “When China commits an illegal act under international law, then we need to stop pussyfooting around and trying to appease China.”

Saint-Jacques said the federal government has to “develop more concrete” strategies for dealing with China. He said there has been some movement from Canada, which led the way for the recent signing of the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations by dozens of countries.

When the closed-door trials for the two Michaels took place in March, representatives from other countries showed up to support them and to denounce the secrecy of the Chinese court, labelling it a violation of the country’s international bilateral treaty obligations.

“We are at the stage where we have send some concrete challenges to China and we cannot do this working alone,” Saint-Jacques said.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/08/10/three-jailed-canadians-spavor-kovrig-and-schellenberg-share-a-spotlight-this-week-in-next-stage-of-chinas-hostage-taking-diplomacy.html?li_source=LI&li_medium=thestar_canada

China slams Olympic boycott call, ‘politicization of sports’

The Special Committee on Canada-China Relations should stop making virtue signalling calls for the Olympics to be moved (won’t happen) and join the British parliamentary committee in calling for a boycott:

China on Thursday criticized what it called the “politicization of sports” after British lawmakers urged a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics unless China allows an investigation of complaints of human rights abuses in its northwest.

A boycott “will not succeed,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.

The British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee called for the government to urge British companies to boycott the Beijing Games, scheduled for February. The appeal adds to pressure on China’s ruling Communist Party over reports of mass detentions and other abuses of mostly Muslim ethnic minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

“China firmly opposes the politicization of sports and the interference in other countries’ internal affairs by using human rights issues as a pretext,” Wang said. “Attempts to disrupt, obstruct and sabotage the preparation and convening of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games out of political motivation have been met with strong opposition from all sectors of the international community.”

China, which rejects the accusations of abuses in Xinjiang, has denied the United Nations unfettered access to the region to investigate the claims.

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/china-slams-olympic-boycott-call-politicization-sports-78731310

Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

Of note. Right call:

Groups alleging human-rights abuses against minorities in China are calling for a full-blown boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, a move likely to ratchet up pressure on the International Olympic Committee, athletes, sponsors and sports federations.

A coalition representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others issued a statement Monday calling for the boycott, eschewing lesser measures that had been floated like “diplomatic boycotts” and further negotiations with the IOC or China.

“The time for talking with the IOC is over,” Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press. “This cannot be games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community.”

The Beijing Games are set to open on Feb. 4, 2022, just six months after the postponed Summer Olympics in Tokyo are to end.

Rights groups have met several times in the last year with the IOC, asking that the games be removed from China. A key member in those talks was Zumretay Arkin of the World Uyghur Congress.

Tethong, herself, was detained and deported from China in 2007 — a year before the Beijing Summer Olympics — for leading a campaign for Tibet.

“The situation where we are now is demonstrably worse that it was then,” Tethong said, pointing out that the IOC said the 2008 Olympics would improve human rights in China. “If the games go ahead, then Beijing gets the international seal of approval for what they are doing.”

The push for a boycott comes a day before a joint hearing in the U.S. Congress focusing on the Beijing Olympics and China’s human-rights record, and just days after the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said boycotts are ineffective and only hurt athletes.

“People have worked to engage with the IOC in good faith to have them understand the issues directly from the mouths of those most impacted — the Uyghurs at the top of that list and the Tibetans and others,” Tethong said. “It’s clear the IOC is completely uninterested in what the real impacts on the ground for people are.”

The IOC has repeatedly said it must be “neutral” and stay out of politics. The Switzerland-based body is essentially a sports business, deriving about 75% of its income from selling broadcast rights, and 18% more from sponsors. It also has observer status at the United Nations.

“We are not a super-world government,” IOC President Thomas Bach said recently.

China’s foreign ministry has criticized “the politicization of sports” and has said any boycott is “doomed to failure.” China has denied accusations of genocide against the Uyghur people.

A recent U.S. State Department report stated explicitly that “genocide and crimes against humanity” have taken place in the past year against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities in the western region of Xinjiang.

Tethong said she knows some athletes may be opposed. But she said others, who gained traction from Black Lives Matter movement, may become allies. She acknowledged this as a “gloves-off” moment.

“There are obviously a lot of people who are concerned about the athletes and their lifelong work,” Tethong said. “But in the end it’s the IOC that has put them in this position and should be held accountable.”

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, spelled out the dilemma for athletes in a recent interview on CNN.

“You certainly don’t want to be put in the position of having to choose between human rights like morality versus being able to do your job,” she said.

Tethong suggested coalition members might lobby the IOC’s top 15 sponsors, American network NBC, which generates about 40% of all IOC revenue, sports federations, civil society groups “and anyone that will listen.”

Activists have already singled out IOC sponsor Airbnb for attention.

“First is the moral question,” Tethong said. “Is it OK to host an international goodwill sporting event such as the Olympic Games while the host nation is committing genocide just beyond the stands?”

In meetings with the IOC, activists say they have asked to see documents in which China has given “assurances” about human rights conditions. Activists say the IOC has not produced the documents.

The IOC included human rights requirements several years ago in the host city contract for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but it did not include those guidelines — the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights — for Beijing. Paris is the first Olympics to contain the standards, long pushed for by human rights groups.

Last week, human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts.

At the meeting, Britain’s U.N. Ambassador, Barbara Woodward, called the situation in Xinjiang “one of the worst human rights crises of our time.”

“The evidence points to a program of repression of specific ethnic groups,” Woodward said. “Expressions of religion have been criminalized and Uyghur language and culture are discriminated against systematically and at scale.”

Source: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

US weighs joint approach to Beijing Olympics with allies

Of note and needed. Hopefully, enough countries will have the sense to boycott and not provide a propaganda triumph for the Chinese regime:

The State Department said Tuesday the Biden administration is consulting with allies about a joint approach to China and its human rights record, including how to handle the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.

The department initially suggested that an Olympic boycott to protest China’s rights abuses was among the possibilities but a senior official said later that a boycott has not yet been discussed.

The official said the U.S. position on the 2022 Games had not changed but that the administration is in frequent contact with allies and partners about their common concerns about China. Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier the consultations were being held in order to present a united front.

“Part of our review of those Olympics and our thinking will involve close consultations with partners and allies around the world,” Price told reporters.

Human rights groups are protesting China’s hosting of the Games, which are set to start in February 2022. They have urged a diplomatic or straight-up boycott of the event to call attention to alleged Chinese abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans, and residents of Hong Kong.

Price declined to say when a decision pm the Olympics might be made, but noted there is still almost a year until the Games are set to begin.

“These Games remain some time away. I wouldn’t want to put a timeframe on it, but these discussions are underway,” he said. “It is something that we certainly wish to discuss and it is certainly something that we understand that a approach will be not only in our interest, but also in the interest of our allies and partners. So this is one of the issues that is on the agenda, both now and going forward.”

The Beijing Winter Olympics open on Feb. 4, 2022 and China has denied all charges of human rights abuses. It says “political motives” underlie the boycott effort.

Rights groups have met with the International Olympic Committee and have been told the Olympic body must stay politically “neutral.” They have been told by the IOC that China has given “assurances” about human rights conditions.

Both the IOC and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have said in the past they oppose boycotts.

In March, IOC president Thomas Bach said history shows that boycotts never achieve anything. “It also has no logic,” he said. “Why would you punish the athletes from your own country if you have a dispute with a government from another country? This just makes no real sense.”

The USOPC has questioned the effectiveness of boycotts. “We oppose Games boycotts because they have been shown to negatively impact athletes while not effectively addressing global issues,” it said. “We believe the more effective course of action is for the governments of the world and China to engage directly on human rights and geopolitical issues.”

Source: US weighs joint approach to Beijing Olympics with allies

Neve: We need a human rights game plan for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Good suggestions. Latest Angus-Reid poll shows 55 percent support boycott compares to 27 percent opposed:
As the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing draw nearer – less than eleven months to go – calls for a boycott grow.

Every day, grave human rights violations suffocate freedom in Hong Kong; brutalize Tibetan, Falun Gong, pro-democracy and other prisoners because of who they are or what they believe; and jeopardize the survival of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. Worry for unjustly imprisoned Canadians, including Huseyin Celil, Sun Qian, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – and four Canadians currently sentenced to death in China – is top of mind. Understandably, there is much debate about holding the Olympics in a country responsible for a human rights crisis of this magnitude.

Immediately there is pushback. We hear indignation that a boycott politicizes the Olympics. But concern for universal human rights is anything but political. These are international obligations binding on all nations, including China.

The Olympic Charter itself affirms that: “The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” Surely championing universal human rights is true to the essence of that vision.

What is particularly galling is for governments and the Olympic movement to dismiss boycott calls as inappropriate, then go no further. That is an utter abdication of responsibility. Boycott or not, there must be a forceful human-rights game plan for these Olympics.

With the House of Common’s recognition of China’s genocide against the Uyghurs; with an iron grip of repression closing around Hong Kong; with Canadians unjustly locked up in Chinese prisons; and with the Chinese government determined to bask in a favourable international spotlight – if this is not the time to sharpen the world’s focus, build pressure, and set out clear expectations for human rights change in China, when will that time be?

Here is the beginning of a three-part game plan for Canada.

First, work with other governments to hold China accountable within the United Nations human rights system. The UN Human Rights Council is in session and will meet two more times before the flame is lit in Beijing. Governments need to find their resolve and use the world’s premier human rights body to call out one of the world’s most egregious human rights violators.

Second, take steps that are readily available. Canadian law and policy already provide for a range of meaningful measures such as more robust bans on products made through forced labour; targeted sanctions on Chinese government officials; concrete initiatives to protect activists in Canada facing threats for their Chinese human rights advocacy; and dedicated programs for refugees fleeing this repression. House of Commons committees on the Canada-China relationship, international human rights and immigration have explored and proposed those and other recommendations in recent months. It is time for action.

And third, all stakeholders need human rights-focused Olympics strategies. That includes the government, the Canadian Olympic Committee, media, corporate sponsors and individual athletes.

There needs to be a coherent response with other governments, including maintaining pressure with respect to key human rights concerns throughout the lead-up to and during the Olympics. Coordinated decisions as to which officials will attend and who will pointedly stay away from the lavish opening ceremony should be publicized.

Attention will be needed to ensure that journalists have freedom and are encouraged to report about China’s human rights reality. Similarly, marketing campaigns cannot gloss over China’s grim human rights record. Television networks with Olympic broadcast rights, and companies paying big bucks to use the logo, need to figure out how they will lift up human rights.

And there must be assurances of safety and support for individual athletes who will feel compelled by conscience to show solidarity.

If governments and the Olympic movement are going to rebuff boycott suggestions, it is incumbent upon them to demonstrate they are nonetheless committed to addressing the harrowing human rights backdrop behind the Beijing Games’ fanfare.

This is not playing politics. It is about respecting what the Olympics aspire to be.

Above all, it is about honouring the Uyghur people, the people of Hong Kong, Tibetans, Mongolians, Falun Gong practitioners, democracy campaigners, human rights defenders, journalists, labour activists, imprisoned Canadians, and countless others.

For them, the Olympic flame offers no inspiration or comfort.  For them, we must set the flame ablaze with concern, solidarity and action for human rights.

Alex Neve is a Senior Fellow with the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Source: Neve: We need a human rights game plan for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Latest Angus-Reid poll showing 55 percent favouring a boycott, 27 percent opposed.

Source: https://angusreid.org/china-meng-kovrig-spavor-trial/

Canadian human rights groups among coalition calling for Beijing Olympic boycott

No sign that the Canadian Olympic Committee has any second thoughts. Opportunity for individual athletes to show leadership and a conscience:

Cheuk Kwan wants the world to remember what happened after numerous countries considered boycotting the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, but eventually agreed to participate.

“The world should take 1936 as a lesson,” said Kwan, spokesperson for the Toronto Association for Democracy in China.

“We’re confronting a very similar situation. In hindsight, we should have (boycotted the Berlin Games). It really emboldened Hitler to to go on and attack Poland and start World War II.

“So, this is where we are right now from a moral standpoint.”

The Toronto Association for Democracy in China was among a coalition of 180 rights groups, including several based in Canada, that called for a boycott Wednesday of next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics.

The Games are set to open Feb. 4, 2022, despite the global pandemic.

Wednesday’s call to boycott is around reported human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in China, and coalition is composed of groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians, residents of Hong Kong and others.

The group issued an open letter to governments to support a boycott “to ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government’s appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent.”

There were similar calls to boycott the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, but many believed a global spotlight would help clean up reported human rights atrocities in China. That didn’t happen, Kwan said.

“Fast forward to today, from a Canadian standpoint we are probably in a worse situation,” he said.

Among the biggest concerns to Canadians is the continued imprisonment in China of the “two Michaels” — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

Kovrig and Spavor are marking two years in separate Chinese prisons, on what Canada and dozens of its Western allies say are trumped-up espionage charges in retaliation for the RCMP’s December 2018 arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant.

Another massive human rights issue is the Uighur indoctrination camps in Northwestern China. Since 2016, China has swept a million or more Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities into prisons and indoctrination camps, according to estimates by researchers and rights groups.

“They’ve put millions of people in education camps,” said Mabel Tung of the Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement, one of the 180 letter signees. “Family here in Canada have been trying to contact their daughters, their sisters, their brothers that they haven’t seen or heard from in a few years, and they have no way of knowing what happened to them.

“So, it might seem like just a sports event, (but) it’s affecting so many people. We shouldn’t just ignore this fact.”

Dick Pound, one of the International Olympic Committee’s most vocal board members, told the Globe and Mail that Canada should resist calls to boycott next year’s Olympics.

The Montreal native said a boycott would achieve nothing and hurt Canadian athletes.

“Young people gathering in troubled times to compete peacefully in sport — this is a message worth sending and a channel that is worth keeping open even when the government folks are mad at each other,” Pound said.

Tung hopes people understand that “we’re not against the Olympics, we’re not against sports, and I think the Games should happen. But not in China,” she said.

Kwan said he understands arguments around the ineffectiveness of a boycott.

“And a lot of people are saying ‘What about the athletes? They’ll spend their whole lives regretting not going to Beijing,’ and so forth.

“But we have to take a stand morally when two of our citizens are languishing in jail.”

Kwan said China can use the Olympics “as a window dressing” in attempts to clean up its image on the global stage, while continuing its treatment of minorities.

Hitler’s rise in power had numerous countries considered boycotting the ’36 Games, with the U.S. being among the most vocal.

One of the Olympic principles forbids the discrimination by race or religion, Kwan pointed out. Nazi Germany forbid the participation of Jewish athletes in the Berlin Olympics.

The same principle, he said, should be applied to Beijing around the Uighur camps.

Rights group have previously asked the IOC to move the Games from China, but Olympic leaders have largely ignored the demands, saying it’s a sports body that doesn’t get involved in politics.

Pro-Tibet activists held up their flags Wednesday outside the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Source: Canadian human rights groups among coalition calling for Beijing Olympic boycott

Canadian Olympic Committee board member rejects calls for boycott of Beijing Olympics

Of course he would. Interest trumps values and principles. Laughable “We try and keep it as apolitical as possible” when we know for the Chinese regime it is political:

One of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s most prominent board members says Canada should resist calls to boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics over allegations of genocide in China or the imprisonment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

Richard Pound, who was president of the Canadian Olympic Committee in 1980, the last time Canada boycotted an Olympic games, said in an interview that refusing to participate in 2022 would achieve nothing and only hurt Canadian athletes.

He said “probably 70 per cent” of Olympic athletes make it to just one Olympic games.

“Young people gathering in troubled times to compete peacefully in sport — this is a message worth sending and a channel that is worth keeping open even when the government folks are mad at each other,” Mr. Pound said.

Critics of China’s human rights record in Canada and abroad have urged Western countries to pull their athletes from the 2022 Olympics. They cite China’s crackdown on civil rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong, and its internment camps and forced sterilization for Muslim Uyghurs. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said China’s actions constitute genocide. A Canadian House of Commons committee condemned the treatment of Uyghurs as genocide, and Arif Virani, the parliamentary secretary to Canada’s Justice Minister and Attorney-General, last fall told the Commons that “it is genocide that appears to be taking place today in China.”

Nathan Law, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent dissidents, last fall urged Canada to organize a boycott of the 2022 Olympics with other liberal democracies to show China its oppression of Hong Kongers and Uyghurs has real consequences.

Mr. Pound said Canada tried a boycott already, when the U.S. led 65 countries to skip the Moscow Olympics over the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. He said it was devastating for Canadian athletes — “we just ripped the guts out of our Olympians” — and was ineffective.

“They were so furious with what was then the Soviet Union that they were going to teach them a lesson,” Mr. Pound recalled. “And, of course, it didn’t get the Soviets out of Afghanistan at all.”

He noted that at the same time as the boycott, Canadian wheat sales to Russia soared. The Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries and allies in turn boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Mr. Pound said Canadians should understand that Beijing doesn’t own the 2022 Games. “They are not Chinese games. They are the International Olympic Committee’s games and they are being held in China.”

Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong said if Canada truly believes genocide is taking place, it has to be prepared to match its condemnation with action. United Nations experts have said at least one million Uyghurs and other Muslims have been detained in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region in camps the Chinese government calls vocational and education training centres. Beijing says it’s trying to stamp out terrorism and extremism.

“I think it’s pretty difficult for democracies to act as if it’s business as usual when there is evidence of a genocide going on in China, amongst other gross human rights violations,” Mr. Chong said. “I don’t see how a country like Canada, and other democracies, can turn a blind eye to that.”

He said Canada must consider a boycott not only for the mistreatment of the Uyghurs, but also for conduct such as breaching an agreement with Britain to maintain civil rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong for 50 years after the 1997 handover of the former British colony.

NDP foreign affairs critic Jack Harris said his party would like Canada to work with allies to get the host country changed.

China, he said, “is not a place we want to see our athletes encouraged to go.” He said the dispute with China is not a political issue but a humanitarian issue.

Mr. Chong said if Canada sends teams to the Beijing Olympics, the athletes should consider wearing a symbol or patch to show solidarity with Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, who have been locked up for more than 785 days by China in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called “retaliation” for the arrest in Canada of a Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive on a U.S. extradition warrant.

Mr. Pound said patches are not a good idea. “That’s attractive, but what if another country thinks it’s nice to wear swastikas?” he said. “We try and keep it as apolitical as possible.”

Canada’s minority Liberal government has distanced itself from the discussion.

Camille Gagné-Raynauld, press secretary for Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, said in a statement that the decision lies with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees, which are independent of the federal government.

Mr. Pound said China could dismiss a Canadian boycott as a dispute over Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, whom it has accused of spying.

Beijing would tell its citizens Canada is angry because the Chinese “have two Canadian criminals in custody — and that is the way it would be perceived,” he said.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canadian-olympic-committee-director-rejects-calls-for-boycott-of/

Canada won’t lead boycott of 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing

Wrong call, as others have mentioned. Will be used as propaganda by the Chinese regime much as Hitler used the 1936 Berlin Olympics (only saved by Jesse Owen’s win).

Canadian Olympians, and the Canadian Olympic Committee, need to reflect hard on their complicity with the various aspects of Chinese repression (Uighurs, Hong Kong, arbitrary arrests etc) should they attend – even if the two Michael’s are released by then:

The Canadian government has no plans to lead the way amid growing calls for an international boycott of the 2022 Olympics in China.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told the House of Commons special committee on Canada-China relations Monday that a decision on a boycott should be left to private sports bodies participating in the Winter Games in Beijing.

“I think when it comes to sports and politics … one has to be careful. That is a decision for the Canadian Olympic Committee to make and certainly we will look to see their decision when it comes to the Olympics in Beijing,” Champagne told MPs.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong raised the issue, noting that former Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick had suggested last week that the government should start preparing the Canadian public for a boycott of the Olympic Games. The Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place in Beijing in February, 2022.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador, has called on Ottawa to boycott the Olympic Games and to impose sanctions on China for its human-rights abuses. John Higginbotham, who previously served as commissioner for Canada in Hong Kong, a role equivalent to an ambassador, has also said Canada should organize a boycott of the Games unless China “lays off Hong Kong.”

In September, more than 160 human-rights groups called on the IOC to withdraw the Games from Beijing because of gross human-rights abuses. In a letter, the organizations said China has put more than one million Uyghurs in detention camps and set up an “Orwellian surveillance network” in Tibet and crushed democratic dissent in Hong Kong.

Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Rabb, has refused to rule out boycotting the Beijing Games because of the treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjing region, where they have been subject to mass incarceration, forced sterilizations and forced labour.

United States Senators Rick Scott and Josh Hawley have urged NBC Universal, which owns the rights to broadcast the Beijing Olympics, to “pick human rights over profits” and refuse to air the Games.

A Canadian House of Commons committee recently accused China of committing “genocide” against its Muslim minorities and has called for Magnitsky-style sanctions against Chinese officials. The committee did not call for a boycott of the Olympics.

Beijing is set to become the first city to play host to both Summer and Winter Games.

Last week, the COC announced that two-time Olympic gold medallist speedskater Catriona Le May Doan will serve as Canada’s chef de mission for the 2022 Olympics.

In his testimony Monday evening, Champagne appeared to back off a pledge to unveil a new framework for Canada-China policy before the end of the year.

Under questioning from MPs, the minister would only say that Canada’s China policy is “evolving” and that is based on Canadian interests, values and principles on human rights and rules and partnership.

“Our foreign policy needs to evolve with an evolving China … and that is what we are already putting in motion,” he said.

Senior officials have privately played down the significance of Champagne’s talk of a new China policy. Officials told The Globe there will be no formal declaration on China but relations will be managed with the new reality that Chinese President Xi Jinping has adopted an aggressive and regressive policy within China and to the outside world.

In his opening remarks, Champagne acknowledged that the China of 2015 is not the China of today, expressing concern about its expansion policies, including in the High Arctic.

Senior officials have privately played down the significance of Champagne’s talk of a new China policy. Officials told The Globe there will be no formal declaration on China but relations will be managed with the new reality that Chinese President Xi Jinping has adopted an aggressive and regressive policy within China and to the outside world.

In his opening remarks, Champagne acknowledged that the China of 2015 is not the China of today, expressing concern about its expansion policies, including in the High Arctic.

“We see a country and leadership that is increasingly prepared to throw its weight around to expand its interests,” he said. “China’s ambition even reaches the Arctic region with aims to develop shipping lanes … this is a new reality that we need to take into account and thus engage with China with eyes wide open.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canada-wont-lead-boycott-of-2022-olympic-games-in-beijing/?utm_medium=Referrer:+Social+Network+/+Media&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links

Canada shouldn’t go to Winter Olympics in Beijing

Agree with Raph Girard, former government colleague. Do Olympians really want to be complicit with the Chinese regime and all its human rights abuses?:

The appointment of Catriona Le May Doan as head of our 2022 Olympic delegation would have been more than appropriate had there been a reason to send a team to China in the first place. How can we possibly be thinking of sending Canadians under our flag to a country that is holding two of our citizens hostage; that has threatened Canadians in Hong Kong; and that continues to use trade as a weapon against us?

China’s repression of the Uighurs and the democratic movement in Hong Kong  should be sufficient for fair-minded countries to withdraw, as Canada did from the Moscow Games in 1980. China is a  pariah state. Let us show some backbone and demonstrate we will not be bullied by letting it know right now that there will be no Canadian team to harass in Beijing in 2022.

Raphael Girard, Ottawa

Source: https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/todays-letters-boycott-the-beijing-winter-olympics-over-chinas-abuses

John Ivison: Boycott of Beijing Olympics is no substitute for a proper foreign policyClose sticky video

While the government is pondering over a new approach to dealing with China, the Conservative Party is urging the Liberals to consider a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The idea was raised on social media by Canada’s former senior public servant, Michael Wernick. “Perhaps it is time to start preparing the Canadian public for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China,” he said.

Michael Chong, the Conservative foreign affairs critic, agrees.

“China is threatening our citizens and undermining our rights and freedoms with its covert operations in Canada. Everything should be under consideration to defend Canada and Canadians – including a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics,” he said in an email.

Chong pointed out that it is an option where this country has some leverage. “Canada is a winter sports powerhouse. No Winter Olympics could be a success without Canada’s participation,” he said.

The idea received a tepid response from the government.

The department of Canadian Heritage professed impotence when it came to the question of a boycott. “The decision on whether or not to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic games lies with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, as they operate independently of the government,” it said in a statement.

A boycott has pros and cons – it would send a clear message to Beijing that Canadians are incensed at their fellow citizens being jailed arbitrarily (Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are approaching two years in detention), while the Communist Party engages in intimidation and influence-peddling on Canadian soil.

On the other hand, it is unlikely to succeed in securing the release of the two Michaels.

The games were designed to lower international tensions and this would exacerbate them. A boycott would be a symbolic gesture unlikely to shift Chinese foreign policy, while the real victims would be the athletes.

Wernick said he is not sure it is a good idea, especially if Canada was on its own. “Did boycotting Moscow in 1980 make a difference?” he asked.

At the end of the day, a boycott is no substitute for a proper foreign policy, which is something Canada lacks when it comes to China.

Source: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/john-ivison-boycott-of-beijing-olympics-is-no-substitute-for-a-proper-foreign-policy

Burton: Canada should manage our China policy more honestly

With Global Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne scheduled to give evidence Monday to the House of Commons Special Committee on Canada-China relations, expect a lot of hemming and hawing over why he voted against an Opposition motion for Canada to announce a decision on Huawei 5G before Christmas.

He’ll also have to explain why Canada has not undertaken effective measures to stop covert, coercive activities by Chinese agents who seek to influence Canadian policymakers and intimidate human rights defenders in Canada’s Uighur and Tibetan communities, pro-democracy activists, campaigners for freedom in Hong Kong or practitioners of Falun Gong. Canada’s policy on this so far has been akin to the “ghosting” (that is, withdrawing without explanation) of a discarded romantic partner. Canada has broken off the 5G relationship with Huawei for very good national security reasons, but doesn’t want to incur Beijing’s wrath by telling them straight out.

The argument that “ghosting” might obtain the release of Michaels Kovrig and Spavor, or avoid further economic retaliation that punishes Canadian business and farmers, has proven wrong-headed. After 711 days, two exemplary Canadian citizens are still in prison hell in the People’s Republic of China, neither of them deserving such vulgar abuse as Beijing tries to force Canada to comply with China’s political demands. Beijing obviously does not reward passivity with gestures of goodwill, and if the federal government continues to give in to the PRC’s amoral “wolf warrior diplomacy,” expect China to be thus emboldened to demand that Canada offer successive concessions in years ahead.

In 2018, China declared itself a “near-Arctic state” and called for a “Polar Silk Road” to not only expedite shipping through our Arctic waters, but develop ports, infrastructure, military presence and extract resources in Canada’s North. The carrot for Canada would ostensibly be huge Chinese state investment and developmental benefits, but this is all simply part of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s strategy to displace the United States as the world’s dominant political and economic power by 2050, which will be the 100th anniversary of China’s People’s Republic.

This is all consistent with the PRC’s strong insistence that Canada not only allow Huawei free rein over our telecommunications framework, but that Canada cease its “discriminatory” security review process over any PRC acquisitions of critical Canadian natural resources and infrastructure.

Where is Canada’s appeasement of China ultimately leading? If push came to shove, would we revisit the decision to keep Aecon Construction out of Chinese state control? China certainly sees precedent for this, as our current government in 2017 inexplicably reversed the Harper cabinet’s 2015 denial of Hong Kong O-Net’s application to take over ITF Technologies of Montreal, a leader in advanced fibre-laser technology with military applications. It was because CSIS reportedly had advised that O-Net is effectively controlled by the Chinese state that Canada passed up China’s generous monetary inducements to OK that acquisition, despite the lobbying of Canadians who would have benefitted richly from the sale.

Little wonder that Beijing clearly perceives that holding Kovrig and Spavor is working out well, keeping Canada from retaliating for China’s flouting of accepted norms of international diplomacy and trade. It’s time Canada did the right things: ceasing to turn a blind eye to China’s money diplomacy meant to influence Canadian policymakers; adopting zero tolerance of Chinese state harassment of people in Canada; sanctioning Chinese officials who have wealth invested here and are complicit in the Uighur genocide; offering safe harbour to all Hong Kongers at risk of arrest under the PRC’s draconian National Security Law; and stringently inspecting all Chinese shipments into Canada to stem the flow of fentanyl.

As for Huawei, we really need to make a clear and principled statement. In doing so, China will have no reason to further poison its relationship with Canada by keeping Kovrig and Spavor so brutally incarcerated.

Ghosting has not worked in this relationship. It is time to make clear our Canadian intentions.

Charles Burton is a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa, and non-resident senior fellow of the European Values Center for Security Policy in Prague. He is a former professor of political science at Brock University, and served as a diplomat at Canada’s Embassy in Beijing. Source: Burton: Canada should manage our China policy more honestly

Source: https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/burton-canada-should-manage-our-china-policy-more-honestly