Canadian News Feb 8, 2021 3:55 PM EST

MPs call for 2022 Olympics to be moved from China, citing human rights concerns

Their open letter further compared participation in Olympic games in Beijing to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, when western countries flocked their athletes to Nazi Germany

MPs call for 2022 Olympics to be moved from China, citing human rights concerns
Noah David Alter Toronto
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A group of MPs have called for the relocation of the 2022 Winter Olympics which are set to take place in and around Beijing, China, citing human rights concerns, National Newswatch reports.

The 13 MPs, nearly half of whom are from Quebec, warned that participating in the Olympic games in China would "amount to taking part in a sinister, self-aggrandizing spectacle staged for the benefit of a regime that is perpetrating the worst possible crimes against humanity against its own people."

Their open letter further compared participation in Olympic games in Beijing to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, when western countries flocked their athletes to Nazi Germany, offering Hitler's regime positive press coverage and legitimacy. Historians generally refer to the participation of western countries in the 1936 Olympics as a shameful chapter in their sporting history.

China is committing an ongoing genocide against their minority Uyghur population in East Turkestan, a region of northwestern China. Roughly two million Uyghurs have been hauled off into concentration camps where they are subject to torture, sexual abuse, forced sterilization, and slave labour, often for the benefit of western companies operating in China.

The genocide is part of an attempt by the Chinese government to destroy Uyghur culture and create a culturally Han society, Han being the dominant ethnic group of China.

"Mass rapes and numerous acts of torture are being committed in these camps," The MPs wrote in their letter. "Women are being forcibly sterilized, adults and children are being kidnapped, and surveillance camera systems are being combined with artificial intelligence software to track Uighurs around the globe."

"A full-fledged campaign of cultural erasure is also being waged, including the indoctrination of prisoners and the suppression of all Uyghur cultural expression," they further argued.

The MPs said that while politics and sports should not mix, their concerns transcend politics and amount to concerns over human rights abuses and crimes against humanity. "[When] genocide is happening, it is no longer a matter of politics, but of human rights and crimes against humanity," they wrote.

The MPs called for the games to be moved rather than cancelled, stating that they "are not asking our athletes to give up their Olympic dream, because we know full well how much effort will have gone into pursuing it."

Notable signees include Bloc Québécois MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Conservative MP Kelly Block, NDP MP Jenny Kwan, and Green MP Elizabeth May.

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