China has rebuked the UK calls to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, saying any such practice “is doomed to fail”.
The Foreign Affairs Committee said on Thursday the Government should boycott the Games to heap pressure on China over its alleged mass detention of more than one million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Following a similar call from Labour, the committee said ministers should not attend the Beijing Winter Olympics and “should urge others not to do so”.
However, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin dismissed the boycott threat as an “attempt to disrupt, obstruct and sabotage the preparation and convening of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games out of political motivation”.
He told a press conference: “I would like to reiterate that China firmly opposes the politicisation of sports, and the interference in other countries’ internal affairs by using human rights issues as a pretext.
“All sectors of the international community, including the governments and Olympic committees of many countries, and the International Olympic Committee, have all expressed their clear opposition to such practice that is doomed to fail.”
As part of the boycott, the Government was also urged to abstain from sending officials to ceremonies and functions, discourage UK businesses from sponsoring or advertising at the event.
Fans and tourists should also be encouraged to stay away and athletes discouraged from supporting Beijing’s propaganda efforts, MPs said.
China claims that its camps in Xinjiang are used to fight terrorism, but this is disputed on the international stage including by Britain, the European Union and the US.
The House of Commons voted to declare the treatment of Uighurs and others in north-west China is genocide earlier this year in another move to pressure the UK Government.
Tom Tugendhat, the Foreign Affairs Committee’s chair, said: “UK Government should recognise Parliament’s decision, strengthen our response at home, and urge our international partners to protect our own supply chains being used to profit from abuses.
“China, Britain and others were key to building the institutions to prevent a repeat of the barbarity we saw in Asia and Europe eighty years ago. Now is the time to use them.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday he will consider calls for a diplomatic boycott, but is “instinctively against” taking such action.