German politician: silence about human rights violations is a political statement
Major opposition parties in the German government—the Bundestag are urging the parliament to boycott the Beijing Olympic Winter Games in 2022, due to the Chinese regime’s human rights abuses; meanwhile, a former EU parliament vice-president is calling on politicians around the world to boycott the Olympics.
On April 18, in regard to the persecution of the Uyghurs and other human rights violations, Gyde Jensen (FDP), the chairman of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the Bundestag, told the German newspaper “Die Welt” that “Anyone who remains silent about the most serious human rights violations, such as those in Xinjiang, is also making a political statement.”
Jensen believes that a political boycott is urgently needed, “It would be a fatal signal if top German politicians attended the games. They will do the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) a favor and let their public appearance be part of the CCP’s propaganda.” She urges The German Olympic Sports Confederation and other sports associations to “educate the athletes about the human rights situation in the country and to raise awareness that sport cannot be apolitical.”
The MP and human rights expert Margarete Bause of Grüne told Die Welt, “The Chinese government has been committing systematic crimes against Uyghurs in Xinjiang and other minorities for years, violating international law. In Hong Kong, international laws are also being broken while the world is watching, and members of the opposition are being sentenced to arbitrary prison terms.”
She emphasized that the world must not overlook these crimes, and the Beijing Winter Olympic games must be “politically ostracized.” A political and economic boycott is important, although nothing against the athletes who have trained hard for the games, she said. By refusing to attend the Olympics, politicians would send a clear signal to Beijing. The International Olympic Committee, sports federations, and companies have responsibilities too, she added. “I hope the sponsors not to make themselves accomplices to the totalitarian regime’s crimes against human rights,” said Bause.
#IPAC 🇩🇪 co-chair @MargareteBause MdB calls for political leaders to not attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, to signal concern with the Chinese government’s abuses of #Uyghurs and violations of international law. https://t.co/VD6HCjwOuH
— Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (@ipacglobal) March 18, 2021
Margarete Bause also serves as co-chair of Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, “an international cross-party group of legislators working to reform the approach of democratic countries to China.” She suggested in March that politicians around the world should take a moral stance and boycott the Beijing Olympics, due to the regime’s human rights abuses.
Also on April 18, Edward McMillan-Scott, who served as European Parliament vice-president four times 2004–2014 in charge of human rights and democracy, published an article on UK media, calling on the world to “take a stance against China’s actions, boycott Beijing Winter Olympics.”
He is persona non grata in China, as he has vocally condemned the Chinese communist regime’s human rights abuses, such as the persecution of minorities and religious groups in China, including Falun Gong adherents, rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, and the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
In early April, a State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States has been discussing a coordinated approach with allies to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
“As I said, we don’t have any announcement regarding the Beijing Olympics. 2022 remains a ways off, but we will continue to consult closely with allies and partners to define our common concerns and establish our shared approach to the [People’s Republic of China],” he wrote.
According to a survey conducted by the Chicago Council of Global Affairs more Americans support a boycott. Forty-nine percent of those who responded to the survey said they support boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 in response to China’s human rights abuses, while 46 percent opposed such a boycott.
Cathy He contributed to this report.