TORONTO — Canada’s main opposition party on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to press the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics out of Beijing because China is committing a genocide against more than 1 million Uighurs in the western Xinjiang region.
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole said Canada should not be turning a blind eye to genocide.
“Canada must take a stand, but we do not need to do this alone. We should work with our closest allies,” O’Toole said.
O’Toole said China is also imposing a police state on Hong Kong and arbitrarily detaining two Canadians in Chinese prisons. Trudeau has not said whether Canada will pressure the IOC or consider not sending Canadian athletes.
O'Toole said if the Olympics are not moved, a boycott could be considered.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in October that a boycott by his country is a possibility and the the World Uyghur Congress recently labelled the event the “Genocide Games” and asked the IOC to move the Olympics from China.
A coalition of 180 rights groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians, Hong Kong residents and others sent an open letter this month calling for a diplomatic boycott.
The IOC has said repeatedly that awarding the Olympics “does not mean that the IOC agrees with the political structure, social circumstances or human rights standards in the country” that hosts them.
Beijing is the first city to hold both the Winter and Summer Olympics. The IOC awarded it the Winter Olympics in 2015 when several Europe bidders, including Oslo and Stockholm, backed out for political or financial reasons.
The Canadian Olympic Committee didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
Rob Gillies, The Associated Press