EU chief joins liberals in urging West to copy US boycott of Chinese ‘gigantic propaganda’
The Deputy Chairman of the European Parliament has called on the EU to oppose China's human rights record and "speak out for an all-out boycott" of the forthcoming Beijing Olympics.
Speaking in a week that began with the US confirming a diplomatic boycott of the Games, which will take place in February, Nicola Beer, the second in line of the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP), said she believes the Biden administration's decision was the "least" that could be expected from the West.
The member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe added that the Winter Olympics are being held in "the wrong site in the wrong place", echoing the views of campaigners who accuse China of human rights atrocities.
"Neither the US nor the EU can be interested in silently watching Beijing at the Winter [Olympic] Games as a gigantic propaganda staging, while the Chinese apparatus openly, behind the scenes, seriously violates human rights," Beer told Funke via Tass.
"The European Union should not only remain in the shadow of the United States, but also stand on its hind legs in respect of human rights and speak out for an all-out boycott of the Winter Games."
Beer reportedly said that the US boycott decision had been delayed and argued that 'clear signals' from the West towards China are overdue.
China has warned that it will react to the long-anticipated decision by the US, which has been repeated by other countries including Australia.
The FDP youth organization, Junge Liberale (Julis), has echoed Beer's call for a boycott.
"The members of the Uyghur ethnic [Muslim] group are prevented from practicing their religion there," Federal Chairwoman Franziska Brandmann reportedly told the DPA news agency, criticizing the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
"Million are locked up in detention camps under unworthy conditions and, in some cases, are even forcibly sterilized. We young liberals sharply condemn this blatant disregard for human dignity."
Politicians from Canada and Norway have also joined hundreds of human rights organizations in opposing the alleged persecution being carried out by China in the Xinjiang region.
Russia is one of the countries to have criticized a boycott of the Games, while others have said shunning the showpiece is not in line with Olympic principles.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that he expects to attend the opening of the Games.
Putin would have been banned from attending under a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruling on Russia.
An invitation from Chinese leader Xi Jinping, however, means Putin can attend under the terms of the WADA order.
China also hit back at Australia after prime minister Scott Morrison announced their decision, with a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson retorting: "Whether they come or not, nobody cares."