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Kirsten Oswald MP welcomes UK diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics


Kirsten Oswald, Member of Parliament for East Renfrewshire, used Prime Ministers Questions to raise the UK’s participation in the growing diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

There is widespread international concern that the Chinese Government denies basic human rights to China’s minority religious communities.

Their oppression of the predominantly Muslim Uyghur population in Xinjiang has been condemned as an act of genocide. Human right groups have reported mass human right abuses, including forced labour, incarceration of more than a million people and restrictions of religion, culture, and language.

In the face of these abuses, President Joe Biden announced that US diplomats will boycott the Beijing Olympics. New Zealand and Australia have followed suit.

The Scottish Government has also announced that it will participate in the diplomatic boycott.

Kirsten raised asked the Prime Minister if he would commit to the UK joining the diplomatic boycott.

In response to Kirsten, the Prime Minister said no ministers would be attending the event. Later in the session he confirmed that no officials would attend either and that the UK would implement a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Kirsten said:

“I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister has agreed that the UK will join the Scottish Government in the growing diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

He was clearly reluctant to make the statement today, but the chaos that has engulfed his government in recent days forced his hand.

The SNP has been pressing for greater attention to the plight of the Uyghur people and other minority groups in China, to keep the spotlight on their treatment, and to press for more concrete action by the international community.

Perhaps the growing international condemnation of their policies and the absence of government and diplomatic representatives from the Beijing Winter Olympics will make them think again about their appalling actions against the Uyghur population and other religious minorities.

Rahima Mahmut, UK Project Director of the World Uyghur Congress, said:

“The Prime Minister’s announcement of a diplomatic boycott has provided me with more hope that those in power in this country are slowly tuning in to my people’s suffering.

For the Uyghur community, and those of us that are missing relatives and loved ones, this boycott gives us a slither of accountability for the collective trauma the Chinese authorities have inflicted upon our community throughout this genocide.

I thank the activists and politicians, particularly the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, who worked tirelessly to get this result.

I am also grateful to Kirsten Oswald MP and Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, who pushed the Prime Minister in the Commons today to ensure we received the strong statement we deserved.”

Kirsty Robson, a Scottish Human Rights Activist, said:

“Activists across Scotland and the UK welcome confirmation of a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

It is our responsibility to stand with the victims of genocide and I’m encouraged by the SNP’s continual efforts to keep this issue on the table.”


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