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Diplomatic boycott - how to protect the Olympic idea from Chinese propaganda

Engin Eroglu

The closure of Apple Daily marked the end of an era. The blatant attack on press freedom and freedom of expression that accompanies the forced closure of the pro-democracy newspaper is unfortunately not the first we have seen since the introduction of the National Security Law a year ago. Nor is it likely to be the last. Nevertheless, it was one of the most drastic, as the closure of the newspaper brought to its knees one of the most important voices of the democracy movement in Hong Kong. In white letters on a black background, the last front page of the dying established paper therefore made an appeal to the world not to avert its gaze. A demand that stands for all of Hong Kong.

This is why it was so important for the European Parliament to react accordingly, not only as a sign for the people of Hong Kong, but also as a signal to the Chinese government: although Apple Daily has been silenced, we will not fall silent. Accordingly, clear words were found in the resolution. In addition to a clear commitment to freedom of the press, sanctions against those responsible, the demand for a stop to extradition treaties with China and a lifeboat arrangement for Hong Kongers, one point in the resolution in particular stands out. For the first time, the European Parliament explicitly addressed a diplomatic boycott of the planned Olympic Games in Beijing in 2022.

The fact that the call for a diplomatic boycott was so well received is significant, because despite the human rights situation and the atrocities committed by the Chinse Communist Party, this demand is still a controversial issue for many. But with this resolution, Parliament is taking a clear stance: we cannot allow diplomats and government officials to attend a high-profile sporting event while genocide is being committed against the Uyghur minority, Hong Kongers are being deprived of their fundamental rights, and Tibetans and Mongolians are being oppressed in the immediate vicinity.

Read the rest of this article in The European.