Diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics needed

Opinion written by Peter Van Dalen, Member of the European Parliament

The world should give a clear signal to Beijing that we fully disapprove its policies. The least we can do is a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympic Games. This means that Member States and the EU institutions, including the European Parliament, should not attend the games. No kings, presidents, prime ministers, diplomats, or other (government) representatives should go to China.

The Xi Jinping government tyrannizes Uyghurs, Tibetans, Christians and those in Hong Kong who cry for freedom. These oppressive Chinese policies are structural. In particular the systematic oppression of the Uyghur minority by the Chinese regime has already been labelled as genocide by several parliaments. The informal Uyghur Tribunal also recently came to that conclusion.

First of all, we see an ever growing aggressiveness of the Xi Jinping government towards Taiwan. Several times a week we see Chinese threats on sea and by air against Taiwan. Sometimes more than fifty planes, including fighter-jets and bombers, provoke the air defence zone of Taiwan. A serious and constant threat to the regional peace and stability. I think this is unacceptable and the international community should give a signal to Beijing to stop these provocations.

There is also another issue at stake, that to my observation is underexposed. It is the Chinese involvement in forced organ transplants. The chairman of the Uyghur Tribunal, the British lawyer Sir Geoffrey Nice, also pronounced a verdict two years ago in another investigation, that of the China Tribunal. This tribunal, made up of lawyers and medical specialists, investigated allegations of forced organ transplants in China. It concluded that the involvement of the Chinese government in what has come to be called organ harvesting, is beyond dispute. The crux of the matter is that prisoners in China are being executed for the purpose of “harvesting” their organs for commercial organ transplants. The China Tribunal suspects that between 60,000 and 90,000 transplants take place in China each year, compared to just 10,000, according to official Chinese statistics. A large part is therefore kept off the books. So it is suspected that forced transplants are taking place on a large scale.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the victims are often prisoners of conscience. They are imprisoned because of political or religious views. Among them are mainly Uyghurs, followers of the Falun Gong movement and Christians. I consider China to be a rogue state because its regime systematically commits crimes against humanity. The governments of the EU Member States plus the representatives from the EU institutions must therefore stay at home in February. In such a boycott, the issue of organ harvesting should certainly be addressed. That would be an important step to draw attention to this crime. It is not allowed to enjoy bread and games while the government of the organizing country allows innocents to suffer and die in prisons, and then deprive them of their organs.

The Beijing Games will be abused by the Chinese authorities to show to the world how great and lovely China is. For me these games provide an opportunity to publicly denounce all the issues of Chinese suppression I just mentioned. The best way to show our contempt of Xi’s policies is to stay away from those games.