Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole speaks at a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai

Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole speaks at a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai

O’Toole calls for relocation of Beijing Olympics due to China’s ‘genocide’ of Uighurs

Beijing has denied any wrongdoing in Xinjiang province, saying it is running a voluntary employment program

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is calling on the government to push for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be moved outside China amid “genocide” against minority Uighurs.

“I think Canadians would agree that it would violate fundamental ethical principles to participate in an Olympic Games hosted by a country that is committing a genocide against part of its population,” he said Tuesday.

O’Toole said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should reach out to the International Olympic Committee to seek to move the games. Canada “should not be sending athletes to China in the middle of a genocide,” he said, but stopped short of stating Canada should boycott the Olympics — or step up to host them.

China has been accused of using forced birth control to limit Uighur births and detention camps to indoctrinate the mostly-Muslim minority into mainstream Chinese society.

Beijing has denied any wrongdoing in Xinjiang province, saying it is running a voluntary employment and language-training program.

Trudeau said genocide is an “extremely loaded” term that should be applied cautiously and in strict accordance with internationally recognized criteria.

“There is no question there have been tremendous human rights abuses coming out of Xinjiang,” he said Tuesday.

Use of the word must be “properly justified and demonstrated so as not to weaken the application of ‘genocide’ in situations in the past.”

Whether the term applies to China is “something we should be looking at in the case of the Uighurs,” he said.

The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee along with the International Olympic Committee “are looking very closely” at calls for relocation of the games, Trudeau added.

O’Toole’s demand follows a letter from more than a dozen federal lawmakers from all parties earlier this month, calling for relocation of the games outside China due to what they deemed a “genocidal campaign” against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

The letter, whose signatories include 13 MPs as well as gold medallist Jean-Luc Brassard, came after a call from some 180 human rights groups to boycott the Beijing games, slated to kick off Feb. 4, 2022.

Ottawa’s delicate handling of the issue comes amid heightened tensions with the global superpower over the past two years following Beijing’s demand that Canada release a top executive of communications giant Huawei who is wanted on fraud charges in the United States.

Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder, denies the charges, which China says are politically motivated as part of a U.S. effort to stifle the nation’s economic expansion.

Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor were rounded up by Chinese authorities nine days after the RCMP arrested the Chinese high-tech scion at the Vancouver airport in December 2018 on a U.S. extradition warrant.

Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, called on the United Nations in November to investigate whether China’s persecution of ethnic Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang constitutes genocide.

A Canadian parliamentary subcommittee concluded in an October report that China’s treatment of Uighurs does amount to genocide, a characterization the country rejected as baseless.

READ MORE: Canada should consider hosting 2022 Winter Olympics, says Green Leader Annamie Paul

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

ChinaConservative Party of CanadaOlympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Purcell Preschool students. Submitted
Pink Shirt Day at Purcell Preschool

Students at Purcell Preschool in Kimberley are making friends and being friends… Continue reading

The property at 323 Banks Street will be developed into three units. Carolyn Grant photo
Development permit sought for 323 Banks Street, Kimberley

Kimberley residents, especially those in Lower Blarchmont, will be pleased to learn… Continue reading

The city of Kimberley hopes to open the aquatic centre by summer. Bulletin file
City of Kimberley hopes to open aquatic centre by summer

Renovations to building must be completed first

Castlegar’s Gabrielle Herle (right) will be one of the speakers at the conference. She is seen here with Wendy Gaskill from Chinook Scaffolding accepting their Contractor of the Year Award in 2019 from the Builders Code Champion Awards. Photo: Submitted
Girls in STEAM and Leadership Conference offered free for all girls in the Kootenay Boundary

Virtual conference for girls in grades 8 to 12 will be taking place on March 8

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read