Scottish Government to 'boycott' winter Olympics in China

The Scottish Government has confirmed its intention to not send any ministers or officials to the coming Winter Olympics in Beijing, joining the US government in a diplomatic boycott of the event.

In an answer to a written question, sports minister Maree Todd confirmed the government’s position and said it continued to be “deeply concerned” by human rights abuses in China.It comes after the United States confirmed it would boycott the event, resulting in a fierce rebuke from China.

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The Scottish Government’s position was clarified following a written question from Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer, co-chair of the cross-party group on Tibet at Holyrood.

The Scottish Government has decided it will 'boycott' the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year.

He said the move would send a “clear signal” to China that Scotland would not “turn a blind eye to the Chinese government’s crimes against the Tibetan and Uyghur peoples”, adding the decision “adds real momentum” to the boycott campaign.

Mercedes Villalba, the group’s other co-chair and Scottish Labour MSP, said attending the event would be “tacit support” of human rights abuses.

She said: “Everyone should have freedom of expression without fear of arbitrary punishment, yet that basic right is denied to Tibetans and other peoples living under China’s control.

"That's why it's so important that our governments do not attend state sponsored cultural events in China like the Beijing Winter Olympics, as this tacit support provides political cover for the human rights abuses being committed.”

Responding to the written question, Ms Todd said: “The Scottish Government continues to be deeply concerned by reports of serious, widespread and systemic human rights abuses committed against members of the Uyghur and other minority ethnic communities in Xinjiang, as well as by China’s overall record of human rights violations, including in Tibet and in Hong Kong.

“Neither Scottish ministers nor Scottish Government officials have any plans to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics."

On Monday, the former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith called on the UK Government to follow the example of the USA.

He made the plea in the House of Commons and called for the government to “boycott the Winter Olympics, both ministers and officials”.

The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.

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