The campaign group No Cold War have hit back strongly at the group trying to force a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics, telling the Star that “it would contribute to an atmosphere of escalating tensions.”
Published on Morning Star, May 17, 2021
Campaign group No Cold War have hit back strongly at the group trying to force a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics, telling the Star that “it would contribute to an atmosphere of escalating tensions.”
A coalition representing Uighurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others issued a statement today calling for the boycott, eschewing lesser measures that had been floated like “diplomatic boycotts” and further negotiations with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or China.
China’s foreign ministry has criticised “the politicisation of sports” and has said any boycott is “doomed to failure.”
China has denied accusations of genocide against the Uighur people and Carlos Martinez of No Cold War believes that instead of a boycott, people should be coming together.
“Boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics would clearly be a hostile act; it would contribute to an atmosphere of escalating tensions, at a time when the peoples of the world urgently need co-operation between the major powers — particularly in connection to preventing climate breakdown and containing the pandemic,” said Martinez.
“The justification for the proposed boycott is the spurious allegation that China is committing genocide against the Uighur Muslims of Xinjiang. As Jeffrey Sachs has noted in a recent article for Project Syndicate: ‘The charge of genocide should never be made lightly. Inappropriate use of the term may escalate geopolitical and military tensions and devalue the historical memory of genocides.’
“It’s worth noting that the demand for a boycott is being led by the World Uighur Congress, an international far-right network that receives millions of dollars from the US National Endowment for Democracy and which is working towards the creation of an ethno-state in Xinjiang. Its agenda clearly goes well beyond protecting the values of the Olympic Games.”
One member of the group calling for the Games boycott, Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute, said that “this cannot be games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community.”
Tethong added: “If the games go ahead, then Beijing gets the international seal of approval for what they are doing.”
The push for a boycott comes a day before a joint hearing in the US Congress focusing on the Beijing Olympics and China’s human rights record and just days after the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said boycotts are ineffective and only hurt athletes.