By Steve Keating – February 17 2021
(Reuters) – With the Beijing Winter Games less than a year away, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) are looking closely at human rights abuses in China, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday as calls to move the 2022 Games continue to grow.
“In regards to the Olympics, we continue to be very, very vocal in standing up for human rights around the world and calling out human rights abuses, as I have personally in the past directly with Chinese leadership, among many others,” Trudeau told reporters during his daily press briefing.
“We know that the International Olympic Committee, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and others are looking very closely at this issue and we will certainly continue to follow carefully.”
While Trudeau offered a measured response to what is becoming an increasingly tricky position, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and Green Party leader Annamie Paul were more direct.
O’Toole told reporters on Tuesday it was not appropriate for China to host the world’s biggest sporting event in light of its human rights abuses, calling the country’s treatment of the Uighur minority in its Xinjiang region a genocide.
China has been widely condemned for its complexes in Xinjiang, which it describes as “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism. It denies accusations of abuse.
Paul, meanwhile, urged the Canadian government to support the relocation of the 2022 Winter Olympics set for Feb. 4-20 and for the country to step in as a replacement venue.
“What more evidence does your government need to see before it concludes whether or not a genocide is occurring in China,” said O’Toole calling out the Trudeau Liberals during his morning briefing. “And given we’re even discussing the possibility of a genocide, is Beijing an appropriate venue for the Olympics?”
China’s human rights record has for years been a source of dispute with Western governments. China routinely dismisses Western complaints about its rights record.
Please see the letter from AUTWA (Australian Uyghur Tangritagh Women’s Association) to Mr. John Coates AC, member of the International Olympic Committee here