UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would be considering implementing measures against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics because of human rights violations against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
According to The Guardian, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee asked Raab about the chances that Britain will refuse to participate in the sporting event scheduled for 2022 in protest of human rights abuses.
Raab said, “Generally speaking, my instinct is to separate sport from diplomacy and politics, but there comes a point when it is not possible.”
Raab said on Oct. 6, that there was evidence of serious and egregious human rights violations against the Muslim minority group.
While the CCP avoids any responsibility for the abuse of Uighurs, saying that these claims are “unfounded,” there are widespread reports that these minority groups are being held against their will or subjected to forced sterilization.
Raab said that the attendance of emblematic figures such as the Duke of Cambridge should be “looked at very carefully.” He also did not rule out the possibility of asking Prince William, who is often sent by the government to sporting events, to refrain from going.
The UK foreign secretary’s decisions come at a time when 39 countries have expressed serious concern to the UN about human rights violations committed by the CCP.
The 39 led by Germany called during the general debate of the Third Committee of the UN Human Rights Council for an independent investigation into the conditions the Uighurs are being subjected.
According to the South China Morning Post, on behalf of the 39 countries, including the United Kingdom, German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen said, “In view of our concern about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, we call on all countries to respect the principle of non-refoulement.”
The principle of non-refoulement guarantees “no one should be returned to a country where they face torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and other irreparable harm,” according to the U.N.
Meanwhile, while Raab did not describe the treatment of the Uighurs as genocide, he assured that the legal threshold for proof of genocide was not only the destruction of a minority but also the intent to destroy it.
“The more we see of the evidence and the more the international community addresses its mind to it, the more I think we do need to think very carefully at what action we take,” Raab said, according to The Guardian.
Raab was also critical of some Muslim countries that refuse to question abuses against Muslim minorities in China. “Obviously China has huge heft economically and politically, and the question is the extent to which that is eclipsing others from speaking out when you thought they might, should, and would,” he said.
According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, a global coalition of 321 civil society groups has called for the creation of an independent international mechanism to investigate human rights violations committed by the CCP in an open letter to the United Nations.
One of the most troubling cases of human rights violations in China is that which has taken place since 1999 against practitioners of the ancient Chinese spiritual discipline Falun Gong.
Despite its notable popularity throughout the country for its health benefits since its introduction to the public in 1992, it has been defamed and persecuted by the CCP, and research shows that the discipline has been the target of a massive campaign of forced organ removal.