Tag Archives: winter olympics

The silence from the Government on the Winter Olympics in Beijing is eerie

When a person here at home comes forward to say they are sexually assaulted, we expect a criminal investigation. We also expect debates in our legislations and police funding why further crimes are not prevented. What we will not expect is for the victim to be disappeared and reappeared by a state media while there is neither investigation nor freedom for the person being sexually assaulted to be approached. In China, when tennis star Peng Shuai accused former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, she is confined into further danger and injustice. Our Government has stayed eerily quiet when major sporting events are held in countries with tarnished human rights records. While sources say Downing Street is mulling the diplomatic boycott we call for, the continuous inaction is fuelling legitimacy for the autocratic regime.

The Chinese Communist Party loves to portray sports. While Hollywood sometimes glorify breaking the curse of the ‘Sick Man of Asia”, Beijing is just as fascinated pushing for strengthening physique with national figureheads. Chinese leaders are shown swimming against fierce waves in the Yellow River. When President Xi does not swim, he is demonstrated to enjoy football. Probably he may also think it is not worth ending his President for life title in the Yellow River. It is interesting David Cameron played along with the Chinese leader in his portrayal, giving him a visit to Manchester City during Xi’s state visit. It is another ignorance to the fact the Chinese leadership always has a hidden agenda. The Winter Olympics simply cannot improve human rights record in China. In fact, allowing Beijing 2022 to be held normally will contribute to the Chinese party’s narrative.

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Should we boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics?

As the Olympic Games in Tokyo draw to a close and we look back on two weeks which has laid bare serious issues of wellbeing of athletes and blatant sexism in sport funding, as well as some brilliant performances in an incredible range of sports.

I hadn’t realised negotiating complicated climbing walls at speed was an internationally recognised sport but I swear I didn’t draw breath as I watched people take their lives in their hands.

And the cross country cycling was brutal with all sorts of obstacles thrown in the path of the riders.

I hadn’t been particularly invested in these Games but got drawn in.

Preparing to compete in the biggest of international sporting events is hard enough in the best of circumstances.  Athletes have to endure crushing physical and mental pressures and make huge sacrifices. Behind every length in the swimming pool in an Olympic final are years, maybe decades of getting up at 5am to do a couple of hours in a pool before school and evening training. But the pandemic added an extra layer of complexity to their preparation with athletes having to lift weights in their gardens rather than the gym.

Because of the year’s delay to the 2020 Olympics, it’s just six months until the Olympic circus starts up again for the Winter Olympics. I may be petrified of snow and ice in all its forms if I have to walk on them, but I’m quite happy to watch people lie down on tea trays and speed down helter skelters at amazing speeds, or jump off a high ramp on skis.

The problem with this event is that it takes place in Beijing. Would our participation in these Games in the wake of the brutality of the Chinese Government towards the Uyghur Muslims be in any way appropriate?

Ed Davey thinks not. In February, he called for us to boycott the Games. From The Guardian:

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Wera Hobhouse calls for Olympian steps to halt Xinjiang atrocities

In a Commons debate on Thursday, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse warned it would be unacceptable for the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, senior diplomats and officials to attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year. To do so would give credibility to a regime that is accused of genocide in Xinjiang. Western countries had to take a stance against China’s human rights abuses.

Hobhouse told MPs is totally unacceptable that peaceful demonstrations during protests on the field of play or in medal ceremonies are barred by the IOC under the threat of sanctions. Given the ongoing human rights abuses, is it at all justifiable for the games to go ahead?

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Ed Davey calls for Team GB to boycott the Chinese Winter Olympics over the genocide of the Uighurs

Ed Davey asked the Prime Minister this question yesterday.

Boris Johnson said he was appalled by the abuse of the Uighurs, but was not in favour of sporting boycotts.

What do our readers think?

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