Fresh calls for a boycott were made at an online event organised to help shed light on China’s continuing human rights abuses.
A boycott is seen by some as a step too far, given the symbolic importance of such an act.
But the event in Brussels was told that Member States and the EU institutions, including the European Parliament and Commission, should go for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Various Belgian civil society groups this week took to the streets to demand the EU takes action and boycotts the games.
Also on 4 January and adding their voices to the call for a boycott, members of the Tibetan community demonstrating outside the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva joined Belgian rights groups via a live link to the debate on the matter. It was held at the Brussels Press Club, with the participation of senior EU politicians and human rights advocates.
The demand for a diplomatic boycott was also made by several speakers who took part in the debate, including Peter van Dalen, an MEP for the Christian Union.
The Dutch member told the event, “The Xi Jinping government tyrannizes Uyghurs, Tibetans, Christians and those in Hong Kong who cry for freedom.”
Van Dalen, an MEP since 2009, added, “These oppressive Chinese policies are structural. In particular the systematic oppression of the Uyghur minority by the Chinese regime has already been labelled as genocide by several parliaments.”
He said, “The informal Uyghur Tribunal also recently came to that conclusion.”
The 63-year-old said, “The world should give a clear signal to Beijing that we fully disapprove of these policies. So we should have at least a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics.”
He said he sees at least “2 more reasons” why there must be such a boycott.
“First of all, we see an ever growing aggressiveness of the Xi Jinping government towards Taiwan. Several times a week we see Chinese threats on sea and by air against Taiwan. Sometimes more than fifty (50) planes, including fighter-jets and bombers, provoke the air defence zone of Taiwan.”
The deputy said this was a “serious and constant threat to regional peace and stability.”
“I think this is unacceptable and the international community should give a signal to Beijing to stop these provocations. For me that is to have at least a diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games.”
The MEP, a member of the EPP group, said, “There is also another issue at stake, that to my observation is underexposed. It is the Chinese involvement in forced organ transplants.”
“The chairman of the Uyghur Tribunal, the British lawyer Sir Geoffrey Nice, also pronounced a verdict two years ago in another investigation, that of the China Tribunal.”
“This tribunal, made up of lawyers and medical specialists, investigated allegations of forced organ transplants in China. It concluded that the involvement of the Chinese government in what has come to be called organ harvesting, is beyond dispute.”
“The crux of the matter is that prisoners in China are being executed for the purpose of “harvesting” their organs for commercial organ transplants. The China Tribunal suspects that between 60,000 and 90,000 transplants take place in China each year, compared to just 10,000, according to official Chinese statistics.”
He went on, “A large part is therefore kept off the books. So it is suspected that forced transplants are taking place on a large scale. As if this was not bad enough, the victims are often prisoners of conscience. They are imprisoned because of political or religious views. Among them are mainly Uyghurs, followers of the Falun Gong movement and Christians.”
Van Dalen said, “I consider China to be a rogue state because its regime systematically commits crimes against
humanity. The governments of the EU Member States plus the representatives from the EU institutions must therefore stay at home in February.”
“In such a boycott, the issue of organ harvesting should certainly be addressed. That would be an important step to draw attention to this crime. It is not allowed to enjoy bread and games while the government of the organising country allows innocents to suffer and die in prisons, and then deprive them of their organs.”
“The Beijing Games will be abused by the Chinese authorities to show to the world how great and lovely China is. For me these games provide an opportunity to publicly denounce all the issues of Chinese suppression I have just mentioned. The best way to show our contempt of Xi’s policies is to stay away from those games,” concluded van Dalen.