Green Party of Canada calls for relocation of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in light of Uighur genocide, asks the government to consider the feasibility of Canada as an alternative host

OTTAWA  — Green Party MPs Paul Manly and Elizabeth May joined with other federal MPs from all parties to call for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be moved outside China, as a consequence of the “genocidal campaign” by the state against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. Today, the Green Party is also calling for the government to consider the feasibility of proposing Canada as an alternative venue for the 2022 Olympics. 

“There is a very credible case that the Chinese government is carrying out the crime of genocide against the Uighur people,” said Green Party leader Annamie Paul. “Human rights groups report that the Chinese government is stripping away the Uighurs freedoms, and conducting mass surveillance, detention, indoctrination, and even a program of forced sterilisation and systematic rape,” said Ms. Paul. 

A Canadian parliamentary subcommittee concluded in October that China’s treatment of Uighurs amounted to genocide, and incoming U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken has concurred with the outgoing administration that the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighur Muslims is “genocide.”  

In light of these conclusions, the Green Party believes the decision should be clear: the government of Canada should support the relocation of the 2022 winter Olympics from Beijing. “It is in fact the federal government that ultimately decides whether our nation's athletes will take part in an Olympics,” said Ms. Paul. “While the Green Party also believes strongly in the power of sport, China has proven itself to be highly resistant to liberalising human rights. There is no credible reason to believe that celebrating the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, alongside a genocide, will produce greater respect for human rights.  

“This is not a diplomatic row – this is genocide. If the relocation of the Olympics serves as a wakeup call to the Chinese government, that would be a positive by-product. However, it should be enough to know that Canada has not participated in providing a global platform for a country perpetrating genocide.

“Canada, its international allies and the International Olympic Committee, should now work to find an alternative venue, or venues, for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Green Party believes Canada should consider whether it would be feasible to offer itself as an alternative venue for the 2022 Olympics. 

“As the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada has many venues that are intact and operational,” said Ms. Paul. “Unlike some other Olympic host cities, the venues of Vancouver and Whistler have continued to be useful post-games venues. Our neighbour, the United States, is also a former winter Olympics host, and so perhaps we might also contemplate a joint invitation. 

“This would be a herculean task, but it is worth investigating. It is the kind of creative solution that Canada used to be known for, and can be known for again. It allows us to contribute meaningfully to the international community, as a convenor, even as a middle power,” said Ms. Paul. 

Whether Canada chooses to extend this invitation or not, our government should begin work in earnest to help identify a new location for the 2022 Olympics. “If an ongoing genocide is not reason enough to relocate a global sporting event, then what is?” said Ms. Paul. 

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Rosie Emery

Press Secretary