British lawmakers from across the political divide have renewed their calls on the government to impose a full diplomatic and political boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics after leaked papers linked top Chinese leaders to the crackdown on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
A series of documents published online by the UK-based campaign group Uyghur Tribunal are said to link top Chinese leaders including Xi Jinping to the regime’s crackdown on Uyghurs.
Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: “It has now been published that, in a number of speeches back in 2014, President Xi drove his authorities to carry out the genocide that is going on in Xinjiang among the Uyghur.”
“China is a country that has trashed an international treaty with the United Kingdom over Hong Kong and is arresting everybody who disagrees with it and persecuting them,” he told the House of Commons on Tuesday, adding: “What more does it take for my government to make a clear decision that they will not attend the Winter Olympics and will not allow officials to do so?”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, told MPs on Nov. 25 that “no tickets have been booked” for any UK ministers to attend the games in February.
“That is not good enough,” Duncan Smith said. “Can we now have a clear answer that we will not attend and neither will our officials?”
Foreign Office minister Amanda Milling responded: “We have taken robust action in relation to human rights issues in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and we have imposed sanctions on those responsible.”
She said, “no decisions have been made on government attendance at the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics in 2022.”
Labour shadow foreign minister Stephen Kinnock said the government “continues to sit on its hands” despite calls from opposition benches for “a full diplomatic and political boycott” of the Beijing Winter Olympics in response to the regime’s atrocities.
He pressed the government to answer whether the royal family will be obliged to attend the games. “Does the minister think that it is appropriate to send members of our royal family to the Beijing Olympics to rub shoulders with the very people who are orchestrating these horrific crimes against their own people?”
Milling repeated her answer that “no decisions have been made.”
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said the issue had taken on “renewed urgency” following the “international concern about the treatment of tennis star Peng Shuai,” who vanished from public view for about 20 days after making accusations of sexual assault against a now-retired top Chinese official.
Milling said the UK government has called on the Chinese regime to assure Peng’s safety and continues to follow her case “very closely.”
“Everyone should be allowed to speak out without fear of repercussions. All reports of sexual assault anywhere in the world should be investigated,” she said.
PA contributed to this report.