China has threatened sanctions against Great Britain and all other countries that are boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing for the alleged “genocide” of Uighur Muslims.
British MPs, including Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, have called for a boycott of Team GB over Beijing’s alleged “ethnic cleansing” against Uyghurs who have been detained and politically “transformed” in Xinjiang.
But Hu Xijin, editor of the state-controlled Global Times, warned on Sunday that “China will seriously sanction any country that obeys such a call.”
“The boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, an unpopular idea, will not receive broad support,” he said.
Mr Davey hit back today, saying that “we cannot be bullied by the Chinese government” – adding that “we must use every leverage we have”.
One more year: the Olympic rings will be illuminated in the Olympic Tower in Beijing last Friday, one year before the winter showpiece is due to begin in 2022
Pictured Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey hit back on the sanction threat today, saying, “We cannot be bullied by the Chinese government.”
The Lib Dems said over the weekend that the British athletes shouldn’t be “part of a propaganda exercise” for Communist China in 2022.
Mr Davey compared the upcoming games to an infamous photo from the 1930s of the English football team greeting the Nazis before a friendly in Berlin.
“Nobody can be proud of past failures, so we must act today,” he said.
In response to today’s sanctions threat, he said, “What we are hearing from China is plain and simple bullying, and we cannot be bullied by the Chinese government while they are engaged in ethnic cleansing and genocide.
“Nobody wants sanctions, but we cannot allow our athletes, companies and our country to be bullied by a genocidal government.”
He added: “We need to ask ourselves if we can look future generations in the eyes and say that we have done everything we can to counter a mass crime against humanity.
‘We made some very reasonable inquiries. The whole world community is making reasonable inquiries, and the Chinese government shouldn’t hide from them.
“If they have nothing to hide, they should allow independent UN monitors to verify or not verify these claims. We saw reports from the international media, human rights organizations and the BBC showing the evidence. The Chinese authorities must be held accountable. ‘
Labor MP Chris Bryant has also called for a boycott, telling the Guardian that “I just can’t understand why anyone wants to go to the Beijing Winter Olympics”.
“I think it’s just extraordinary that the UK government doesn’t seem to have a backbone,” he said.
“I think the British Olympic Association should be demanding that the Winter Olympics move and if they don’t move we should boycott them.”
A watchtower in a high-security facility in Xinjiang, believed to have held a million people in re-education facilities that have been compared to Nazi concentration camps