China’s treatment of Uighurs raises more demands to delay the Olympics

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More than 200 officials and politicians attending the Uyghur World Conference in Prague voted on Sunday to urge politicians from Western countries to introduce legislation in their home countries to delay the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Liberal MP Sameer Zuberi and Bloc Québécois MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe attended in person, while other Canadian politicians, including Conservative Senator Leo Housakos, attended virtually.

The weekend meeting was to support Uighurs and denounce China’s genocide against the Muslim minority. About 12 million Uighurs live in northwest China, speak their own language and have been persecuted by the Chinese government for years.

On Monday, Brunelle-Duceppe said in a statement that when the House of Commons returns next week, it will file a motion asking the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Winter Games, which are expected to start on February 4. , 2022, in Beijing.

Speaking virtually on Monday to the Canadian International Council, an independent think tank on foreign relations, David Mulroney, Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012, said Canada will send athletes to the Games hosted by a state that is “committing genocide.”

“This is an extraordinary victory for the Chinese state,” Mulroney said. “He’s proving he can get away with anything; that, even in the midst of a genocide, the world will come.

“I think some people are convinced by the argument that our athletes trained so hard, they deserve this opportunity,” he continued. “I sympathize with our athletes, but I think it’s a very weak argument. … On a moral basis, we cannot watch these games.

“And I guarantee that, in 20 or 30 years, people will look back and say, ‘How did we ever do it? Didn’t we know? ‘ We knew it. … It was too damn hard to do anything about it. And I’m ashamed we’re doing it. “

In February, a majority of MPs voted in favor of a conservative motion to call China’s mistreatment of Uyghurs genocide. The motion also urged the government to pressure the IOC to change the venue for the Winter Games.

During a virtual summit on Monday evening, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss Taiwan, climate change and human rights abuses against Uyghurs.

Mulroney says it is time for Canada to follow its allies in adopting its serious Chinese policy, an issue that emerged in September during confirmation hearings in the US Senate for David Cohen, the incoming ambassador to Canada. Cohen told senators during the hearing: “We are all waiting for Canada to release its framework for its general policy on China.”

Mulroney said not having a clear Chinese policy is a “disconnect in our diplomacy”, which he called “dangerous”.

“(The) public concerns about China are the only thing … keeping our policy on track, as long as it is on track,” Mulroney said.

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