British MPs urge boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Society & Culture

Also in this week's China Sports Column: Chinese tennis players crash out of the Australian Open.

Calls to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics have been growing steadily due to China’s human rights abuses, particularly in Xinjiang. The Guardian reports

Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Labour MP Chris Bryant, a member of the foreign affairs select committee and a former junior foreign minister, said the government and the British Olympic Association should act.

“The evidence that a genocide is now occurring in western China is so clear that the UK and the whole world must now stand up to Beijing and use every available tool to stop it,” Davey said.

Earlier this month, more than 180 human rights groups put their names to a letter urging global governments and Olympic committees to withdraw from the Games.

The open letter stated: “The IOC [ International Olympic Committee] refused to listen in 2008, defending its decision with claims that they would prove to be a catalyst for improved human rights. As human rights experts predicted, this decision proved to be hugely misplaced; not only did China’s human rights record not improve but violations increased substantially without rebuke.

“Now, in 2021, we find ourselves back in the same position with the IOC who are refusing to act despite the clear evidence of genocide and widespread and worsening human rights failures.”

Last week, a number of Canadian MPs and politicians signed a letter urging Canada to rethink its participation at the Games, citing “a genocidal campaign” against Muslim minorities. The letter went as far as to compare Beijing 2022 with the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics. 

In response, Hú Xījìn 胡锡进, editor of state-backed nationalist tabloid Global Times, tweeted:

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Chinese stars crash out of Australian Open

Chinese hopes of Australian Open glory were dashed this week after Zhū Lín’s 朱琳 second-round straight-set defeat to Belgium’s Elise Mertens.

Wáng Qiáng 王蔷 — who had an iconic win over Serena Williams in last year’s tournament — and Zhāng Shuài 张帅 entered the tournament as China’s highest-ranked players, seeded 30th and 31st, but neither made it out of the first round. Wang lost to 33-year-old Sara Errani of Italy (6-2, 4-6, 6-4), while Zhang was dispatched by 20-year-old American Ann Li 6-2, 6-0.

Speaking to CGTN ahead of the tournament, Wang acknowledged that she was still trying to find rhythm in her game after struggling in the Melbourne warm-up tournament the week before. 

Other Chinese singles stars also failed to make it out of the first round. World No. 93 Wáng Yǎfán 王雅繁 lost to the 28th seed, Donna Vekic, despite winning the opening set. 

Zhèng Sàisài 郑赛赛 had a tournament to forget, as the 27-year-old left Melbourne with two first-round defeats in both the singles and her favored doubles. She lost first to Barbora Krejcikova (6-3, 2-6, 6-2), then in doubles — along with her partner Duàn Yíngyíng 段莹莹 — lost to the unseeded pair of Aleksandra Krunic and Martina Trevisan, 6-1, 6-3.

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Other news:

  • FIS World Championships moved from China due to Covid-19 restrictions (NBC Sports)
  • Demand catching up with Winter sports supply (Sport Business
  • Sport becomes part of school entrance examinations (The Economist)
  • IOC President sends New Year’s greetings (China Daily)

The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.