Group calls on the IOC to relocate the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over human rights abuses

Saturday, February 6, 2021

A woman wears a face mask reading ‘Free Uyghurs’ as she attends a protest during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas meets his Chinese counterpart at the foreign ministry guest house Villa Borsig for bilateral talks. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)


MONTREAL — On October 21, 2020, the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights released the following statement: “The Subcommittee unequivocally condemns the persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang by the Government of China. Based on the evidence put forward during the Subcommittee hearings, both in 2018 and 2020, the subcommittee is persuaded that the actions of the Chinese Communist Party constitute genocide as laid out in the Genocide Convention.”

We realize that in these difficult times, when the entire planet is facing the worst public health and economic crisis in over a century, human rights are not front of mind.

However, this is a case of genocide, the most appalling example of what human beings are capable of inflicting on their fellow humans. We cannot stay silent.

As you read this, close to two million Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims are being held in concentration camps that Chinese authorities odiously refer to as “vocational training centres.” Mass rapes and numerous acts of torture are being committed in these camps. Women are being forcibly sterilized, adults and children are being kidnapped, and surveillance camera systems are being combined with artificial intelligence software to track Uyghurs around the globe.

A full-fledged campaign of cultural erasure is also being waged, including the indoctrination of prisoners and the suppression of all Uyghur cultural expression.

Beijing is set to host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2022.

We have a unique opportunity to come together with all the world’s humanitarians and democrats and take action by refusing to participate in this global sports festival, on the grounds that doing so would amount to taking part in a sinister, self-aggrandizing spectacle staged for the benefit of a regime that is perpetrating the worst possible crimes against humanity against its own people.

We are not asking our athletes to give up their Olympic dream, because we know full well how much effort will have gone into pursuing it.

However, we believe that there is still time to demand that the International Olympic Committee move the Games to another country if the Chinese government continues its genocidal campaign.

Some may argue that sports and politics should not mix. We would respond that when genocide is happening, it is no longer a matter of politics, but of human rights and crimes against humanity. We cannot accept the current status quo.

We are not seeking to take our elite athletes hostage.

Rather, we want to ensure that the medals they win in 2022 are not tainted by what will no doubt go down in history, like the 1936 Berlin Games, as: The Games of Shame.


  •  Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Bloc Québécois MP for Lac-Saint-Jean at the House of Commons, spokesperson for International Cooperation
  •  Denis Trudel, Bloc Québécois MP for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert at the House of Commons, spokesperson for Social solidarity and Sports
  •  Stéphane Bergeron, Bloc Québécois MP for Montarville at the House of Commons, spokesperson for Foreign Affairs
  •  Arnold Viersen, Conservative MP for Peace River—Westlock at the House of Commons
  •  Cathay Wagantall, Conservative MP for Yorkton—Melville at the House of Commons
  •  Kelly Block, Conservative MP for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek at the House of Commons
  •   Ken Hardie, Liberal MP for Fleetwood—Port Kells at the House of Commons
  •  Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Liberal MP for Beaches—East York at the House of Commons
  •  Sameer Zuberi, Liberal MP for Pierrefonds—Dollard at the House of Commons
  •  Heather McPherson, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona at the House of Commons
  •  Jenny Kwan, NDP MP for Vancouver East at the House of Commons
  •  Elizabeth May, Green Party MP for Saanich—Gulf Islands at the House of Commons
  •  Paul Manly, Green Party MP for Nanaimo—Ladysmith at the House of Commons
  •  Richard Campeau, Coalition Avenir Québec MNA for Bourget
  •  Enrico Ciccone, Québec Liberal MNA for Marquette, Official Opposition Critic for Sports, Recreation and Healthy Living
  •  Nicole Ménard, Québec Liberal MNA for Laporte, Official Opposition Critic for International Relations and La Francophonie
  •  Sol Zanetti, Québec solidaire MNA for Jean-Lesage, Second Opposition Group Critic for Canadian Intergovernmental Relations
  •  Joël Arseneau, Parti québécois MNA for Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Third Opposition Group Critic for International Relations and La Francophonie
  •  Méganne Perry Mélançon, Parti québécois MNA for Gaspé, Third Opposition Group Critic for Sports, Recreation and Healthy Living
  •  Daniel Turp, Adjunct Professor at Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Law, Bloc Québécois MP (1997-2000)
  •  Jean-Luc Brassard, gold medalist of the 1994 Winter Olympics
  •  The Honorable professor Irwin Cotler, c.p., o.c., o.q.
  •  Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador
  •  Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
  •  Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
  •  Ukrainian Canadian Congress
  •  Central and Eastern European Council in Canada
  •  Justice for All Canada
  •  Mehmet Tohti, Executive Director at Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project
  •  Project Abraham