A genocide is happening, but Olympic officials want us to look the other way. As the issue of Canada’s participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics has heated up in recent days, it has been disappointing to see the debate focus primarily on the efficacy, or lack thereof, of previous Olympic boycotts, and the need to separate sports and politics.
Surely, the discussion must be focused on Canada taking a strong moral stand in the face of the abysmal human rights record of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The facts speak for themselves; the arbitrary detention of the two Michaels, the violent crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong, and of course, the perpetrating of genocide against the Uighurs in Xinjiang province.
On this last point, one cannot and must not compartmentalize genocide, arguably the greatest of all evils in human history. As millions of Uighurs face unspeakable abuse, including accusations of mass detention, forced sterilization, and recent reports of systematic rape, sexual abuse and torture, the 2022 Winter Olympics simply cannot be business as usual.
It is misguided to leave the critical discussion about whether Canadian athletes should compete in Beijing to be had behind the closed doors of the Canadian Olympic Committee. This debate needs to take place on the floor of the House of Commons, allowing Canadians to have their say through their elected members of Parliament.