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EU Parliament votes for boycott of 2022 Beijing Olympics

Non-binding boycott represents latest escalation as Brussels loses patience with China over human rights

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Activists wearing masks of IOC President Thomas Bach and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in front of the Olympic rings during street protest in Dharmsa...

Activists wearing masks of IOC President Thomas Bach and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in front of the Olympic rings during street protest in Dharmsa... (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for member states to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in response to the suppression of opposition voices in Hong Kong and human rights abuses elsewhere in China.

The legislation, passed Thursday (July 11), condemned the Hong Kong authorities' recent actions targeting media in the city and the now-shuttered Apple Daily newspaper in particular.

A total of 500 police officers raided the 26-year-old paper on June 17, combing through records and arresting five executives. The editor-in-chief and chief executive were charged with "collusion with foreign forces" under the national security law for allegedly calling on foreign governments to levy sanctions in response to the law, which was imposed last year following months of pro-democracy protests.

Media magnate Jimmy Lai (黎智英), who founded Apple Daily and its parent company Next Digital, is already serving 20 months in prison for his role in the 2019 protests and faces additional charges under the contentious security law, which could lead to a life sentence.

Stating that "respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law should remain at the centre of the long-standing relationship between the EU and China," the resolution passed Thursday calls on the EU Council, Commission, and member states to "decline invitations" to the upcoming Winter Olympics unless Beijing takes tangible steps to improve human rights conditions in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Tibet, and China at large.

The new legislation, while non-binding, is the latest sign European parliamentarians of various political stripes are losing their patience with China on the issue of human rights, with a landmark investment deal still in limbo following Brussels' sanctioning of key Xinjiang officials and Beijing's countersanctions.

Efforts to engineer a broad boycott of the 2022 Olympics continue to gain steam. The U.K.'s House of Commons is set to debate a motion on Thursday (July 15) asking officials to sit out the quadrennial event.

Last month, members of legislatures in 10 countries introduced a flurry of bills and proposals advocating action against the Games, and in May, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) suggested that attending them while "genocide" takes place in Xinjiang would undercut leaders' moral authority.


Updated : 2021-09-18 02:47 GMT+08:00