Tuesday 6 July 2021 / 10:30 PM Jo Stevens / Lisa Nandy / Sport

Labour demands UK political boycott of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics unless UN allowed into Xinjiang by August

Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy, and Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jo Stevens, are today calling on the Government to step up their condemnation of the Chinese Government and its appalling treatment of the Uyghur minority. They are urging government ministers to use the occasion of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games to press the case for unfettered access for UN investigators to Xinjiang province, and if this is not granted, to support a political boycott of the Games.

The UK has a long and proud history of taking a stand against oppression and it would be inappropriate for the Government to give the Chinese Government a propaganda coup by sending ministers and other officials to Beijing for the Olympic Games while the UN remains locked out of Xinjiang.

Athletes train for four years for the chance to compete and we do not believe that cancelling the Winter Games would be fair on competitors or on the Chinese people who are not responsible for these atrocities.

Labour is asking the Government to join us in our demand that the Chinese Government end the persecution of the Uyghur and allow the UN access to Xinjiang province by 8th August – six months before the start of the Games.

This follows the collective decision by the House of Commons in April 2021 to declare the treatment of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang province a genocide, and is one of a number of measures Labour is urging in response.

Should this deadline fail to be met we feel it would be inappropriate to send officials to give these Winter Olympic Games our national support and disrespectful to Parliament which took such a strong stance.

 Lisa Nandy MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, said:

“The Winter Olympics is a critical moment when Britain must stand up for our values. Strong words from Government must be matched by decisive action.

“For as long as China continues to block access to Xinjiang, no self-respecting government should even consider handing a PR coup to Beijing.

“The UK Parliament recently took the unprecedented step of recognising what is happening to the Uyghur is genocide. After a decade of Tory Prime Ministers rolling out the red carpet to Beijing, this must be the turning point.

“The Government must use this moment to call time on one of the world’s most appalling human rights atrocities. We cannot turn a blind eye to genocide.”

Jo Stevens MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“These games had the potential to be a massive international moment when nations come together after the trauma of the pandemic.

“But the UK cannot in all conscience give tacit support to the Chinese regime while the evidence of genocide against the Uyghurs continues to mount.

“This cannot be a propaganda opportunity for a government inflicting such horrors on its own people. It’s time for our government to make its position clear.”