Lib Dems urge sanctions and Olympic boycott on China over Uyghur genocide

The Liberal Democrats have passed a motion at their party conference that calls for sanctions on Chinese officials and a boycott of the Winter Olympics.

The motion also calls for family reunification of those forced into “re-education” camps and calls on the Foreign Secretary to grant asylum to Uyghurs fleeing persecution.

Liberal Democrats have consistently called on the UK Government to take urgent action against those perpetrating these atrocities, including the use of Magnitsky sanctions.

Ahead of the vote at their party conference Lib Dem Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran has written to every UK Government Minister urging them to back a boycott of the Winter Olympic games due to happen in February 2022.

In the letter, Layla says, “The accounts of what is taking place in Xinjiang are horrifying, and include the use of sterilisation, forced detention and ‘re-education’. It is beyond contempt.”  and adds “Given the scale of the abuses taking place against the Uyghurs, and the failure of the Chinese government to recognise their own culpability in these matters, it would be entirely inappropriate for any UK Government minister, diplomat or official to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics early next year.”

Commenting on the motion at Liberal Democrat conference, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

One thing remains clear, the Liberal Democrats will stand against the horrific persecution taking place against the Uyghurs, which amounts to the crime of genocide.

The UK government cannot just stand by. We must implement Magnitsky sanctions on the architects of these human rights abuses. It would be utterly inappropriate for any UK Government minister, diplomat or official to attend the Beijing Games, given the grave crimes which the CCP is committing.

We also need to play our part in the protection of those under persecution that’s why we’re calling on the new Foreign Secretary to grant asylum for those fleeing these atrocities immediately.

Letter below has been sent to every Minister in Boris Johnson’s new Cabinet

Dear Minister,

I write to you with the 2022 Winter Olympics, taking place in Beijing, now just months away. 

Despite continued international condemnation, the Chinese government has not ceased the human rights abuses being perpetrated against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. 

Distinguished legal opinions, backed up by motions passed in Parliaments across the world including the House of Commons, have made clear that this treatment amounts to the crime of genocide, as defined under Article 6 of the Rome Statute. 

The accounts of what is taking place in Xinjiang are horrifying, and include the use of sterilisation, forced detention and ‘re-education’. It is beyond contempt. 

I hope you will agree that the international community must do all they can to challenge the CCP’s horrific treatment of the Uyghurs, and put a stop to the crimes which are being committed in Xinjiang. So far, however, these efforts have failed. It is therefore vital to consider what further steps we can take to demonstrate to the CCP that their actions are unacceptable. 

Given the scale of the abuses taking place against the Uyghurs, and the failure of the Chinese government to recognise their own culpability in these matters, it would be entirely inappropriate for any UK Government minister, diplomat or official to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics early next year. The UK Government must work with our allies to send a coordinated message to the Chinese Government – that the acts which they are committing will not be tolerated. 

At the 2022 Olympic Games, it is absolutely vital that Ministers do not give succour to the CCP by attending the Games. It is time for the UK Government to send a clear signal that the treatment of the Uyghur people is unacceptable. I therefore ask, will you commit to not attending the 2022 Winter Olympic Games? 

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. 

Yours sincerely, 

Layla Moran MP

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Foreign Affairs

The conference motion can be found in full here, Page 44.

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3 Comments

  • Brad Barrows 18th Sep '21 - 5:50pm

    Tokenism, I’m afraid. If we are serious, we need to call for full economic sanctions. Calling for a boycott of the Winter Olympics just means that we want athletes to be the ones who have to make the sacrifices.

  • John Marriott 19th Sep '21 - 12:23pm

    Stop buying Chinese manufactured goods – if you can!

  • David Evans 20th Sep '21 - 1:46am

    John, I’m doing my best to buy British. You have to pay more, but then if you don’t support your local team, you can’t complain when they get beat.

    For those things that I can’t find a UK made alternative, try EBay for second hand.

    If all else fails, pay an appropriate amount into a local charity for an indulgence or whatever.

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