US calls grow to boycott China's 2022 Winter Olympics 

Criticism intensifies as Beijing faces global scrutiny over mass internment of Uighur Muslims, increasingly offensive stance towards Taiwan and a crackdown in Hong Kong

US calls grow to boycott China's 2022 Winter Olympics 
Nikki Haley, as US ambassador to the United Nations, meets then-president Donald Trump in 2018. File photo by Reuters

(ATF) The former US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is the latest public figure to join a growing chorus demanding a boycott of the Winter Olympics in China next year over Beijing's human rights record.

The Games are scheduled to begin on February 4 next year, just six months after the delayed summer Tokyo Olympics, but preparations for both have been overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We must boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China," Haley, an ally of former president Donald Trump wrote on Twitter. "It would be a terrible loss for our athletes, but that must be weighed against the genocide occurring in China."

Haley said empowering China would "lead to even greater horrors down the road".

China is facing global scrutiny over a range of issues, notably the mass internment of Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang, which the US has said amounts to genocide.

It is also under pressure for its rights clampdown in Hong Kong, and for its stance toward Taiwan, the self-ruled democratic island which Beijing considers part of its territory.

'MISSED OPPORTUNITY'

Human rights campaigners have insisted that BeIjing be called to account. "The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) failure to carry out its due diligence commitments for the 2022 Beijing Games is a missed opportunity to promote human rights in China," Human Rights Watch said.

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) failure to carry out its due diligence commitments for the 2022 Beijing Games is a missed opportunity, Human Rights Watch said.

“The IOC knows the Chinese authorities are arbitrarily detaining Uighurs and other Muslims, expanding state surveillance, and silencing numerous peaceful critics,” Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, said. “Its failure to publicly confront Beijing’s serious human rights violations makes a mockery of its own commitments and claims that the Olympics are a force for good."

Republican Congressman John Katko earlier this week wrote to President Joe Biden to urge a boycott. Last month, a group of US senators introduced a resolution seeking to remove the Games from China.

Canada's House of Commons last week passed a motion to label China's persecution of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims a genocide and which called on Justin Trudeau's government to push the IOC to move the Games out of Beijing.

The White House has so far signalled no change in approach. 

With reporting by Agence France-Presse

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