THE UK Government has not ruled out a potential Team GB boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
China has been accused of human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
Dominic Raab has refused to rule out boycotting the 2022 Winter OlympicsCredit: Reuters
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has suggested Britain might not attend the Games in February 2022 if evidence of mass oppression of ethnic communities continues.
Speaking to the Foreign Affairs Committee, Raab said: “Generally speaking my instinct is to separate sport from diplomacy and politics.
“But there comes a point where that may not be possible.
“I’d say let’s gather the evidence, let’s work with our international partners, let’s consider in the round what further action we need to take.”
Amnesty International claim “up to one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minority people” have been sent to internment camps in the Xinjiang area and subjected to intrusive surveillance, arbitrary detention and forced indoctrination.
Raab added: “We have led the charge in the UN Human Rights Council.
“Put it this way in the UK our concern can only be growing about the reports of what is happening in Xinjiang.
“We want to work very closely with our international partners to give the most powerful message, whether it is in the UN or applying sanctions.
“I have made it clear that there is evidence of serious and egregious human rights violations.
“The more the international community addresses its mind to it, the more I think we do need to look very carefully to what action we take.
“The concerns of what is happening to the Uyghurs — the detention, the mistreatment, the forced sterilisation — is something we cannot just turn away from. We want to gather the evidence carefully.”
Alicia Keans, Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, said: “Given the appalling human rights abuses against the Uyghur people (a genocide), I very much welcome the Foreign Secretary’s recognition of importance of not ruling out a boycott of the Olympics in Beijing in 2022 in response to my question today at the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
The BOA would not respond to Raab’s comments but stressed they are completely independent from government interference.
Britain has sent athletes to every summer and winter Olympics, including the 1980 Moscow Games which were boycotted by the United States.
Lizzy Yarnold was GB’s only gold medalist in 2018Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Great Britain sent 58 athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
They won five medals in total, ranking 19th in the overall table.
Skeleton star Lizzy Yarnold successfully defended her gold in South Korea before retiring, having also reigned supreme in Sochi four years previously.
Source: Athletics - thesun.co.uk