TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Legislators from Taiwan’s New Power Party (NPP) said they are calling for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, bringing a proposal on the issue to a multiparty negotiation for bipartisan approval.
At a press conference on Wednesday (Dec.1), NPP legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) stated on the party’s behalf that China is unqualified to host the Olympics due to its ongoing human rights violations against people of various ethnic groups, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations, which is exactly the opposite of what is written in the Olympic Creed.
NPP legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭) said the government should issue a resolution to boycott the Winter Games while protecting the nation's competitive athletes.
"Women and female athletes are more vulnerable to sexual coercion under authoritarianism, which can be observed from former Chinese professional tennis star Peng Shuai's (彭帥) accusation against former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli (張高麗) and how the top Chinese authority reacted to the event," Wang said.
Peng on Nov. 2 alleged in a social media post that she was coerced into having sex with Zhang before becoming his mistress. The post was quickly taken down by the authorities.
"We have to jointly speak up for athletes' rights," Wang added. The legislator was joined by high-profile human rights activists, including Taiwan Association for China Human Rights (TACHR) Director Yang Sen-hong (楊憲宏) and Che-lam Presbyterian Church Head Pastor Huang Chun-sheng (黃春生).
Yang expressed concern over the absence of Taiwan's voice from discussions surrounding a potential diplomatic boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Beijing. "No rights, no Games," he shouted.
"How come the Taiwan government has yet to issue any official statement amid growing calls around the world not to take part in the Games in the wake of a string of human rights violations, such as the crackdown on pro-democracy groups and dissidents in Hong Kong, repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and other religious as well as political persecutions?" he asked, adding that ongoing intrusions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan-controlled airspace was yet another reason to boycott.
The groups urged the nation’s legislature to set aside its differences and follow the examples of their peers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Lithuania, and the European Parliament in issuing a boycott resolution.
Taiwan East Turkestan Association (TETA) President Ho Chao-tung (何朝棟) said that Taiwan should work with an alliance of democracies before the "Uyghur Tribunal" issues its final determination on whether China has committed genocide against the Uyghurs later this month.
Head Pastor Huang said the government of Taiwan should take a clear stand with other countries in disagreeing on China's legitimacy in hosting the Games. He added that government officials should not take part in events promoting the Beijing Olympics as long as religious persecution exists and religious prisoners of conscience remain behind bars in China. "Beijing has to let go of the prisoners to prove the country is not violating the spirit of the Games."
Hsiao I-ming (蕭逸民), head of the Appeals Center of the Taiwan-based Judicial Reform Foundation, thanked the NPP for initiating the proposal and expressed worries about the safety of Taiwanese athletes and accompanying team staff in China. Hsiao said the issue was especially serious due to increasing reports of Taiwanese and foreigners being detained there against a backdrop of rising nationalism in recent years.