Opinion on boycott of Beijing 2022 is divided
Last week we asked the PeaceQuest community to weigh-in on the proposal from the Greens and Conservatives for Canada to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in protest over China’s human rights record. Like many of our monthly Peace Polls, there was a vigorous debate over the issue on the PeaceQuest website.
Opinion on the issue is divided, with a statistically equal number of people in favour of a boycott as opposed to one. Only one-in-ten people said they were unsure, and our informal poll was answered by over 100 readers.
More than sixty people provided a comment explaining their vote. Those in favour of a boycott were just as likely to raise concerns about the Olympics as an event that consumes too many resources and distracts from more important issues such as climate change, as they were to want to protest the oppression of Muslim minority groups and China’s human rights record.
On the other side were many people who opposed a boycott, arguing that it would be hypocritical given Canada’s own human rights record with respect to Indigenous people. Others distrusted the veracity of media reports of human right abuses in China, considering them part of a US-led campaign to demonize the Chinese government.
You can view a selection of comments below.
On our monthly question tracking the community’s over impression of the direction of the country, there was a significant rise in the number of people saying Canada is on the wrong track over last month, from 33% to 65%.
Comments written by participants
Boycott – The world is getting more dangerous and the Liberal approach of always being in dead centre trying to please everyone means our planet is at risk from global warming, authoritarian regimes are multiplying, a new nuclear arms race is emerging, and a stunning lack of progress on reconciliation and indigenous rights in Canada and elsewhere around the world. We need strong, daring and bold leadership now not continuous compromise on values.
Don’t boycott – Canada’s Federal government offers encouraging plans but citizens cannot count on it following through. It’s still too influenced by big business.
Boycott – The Olympics have become a massive advertising spectical and I see little difference between China and the USA (which has more prisoners per population than any other country) and kills more people via “sanctions”.
Don’t boycott – Regarding the first question on China, this is populist pandering, not a helpful approach to an incredibly important issue. The fact that the O’Toole Conservatives are gung ho on an Olympic boycott ought to give any self-respecting NDP member (currently deep into left-wing populism themselves) pause for reflection. I also would like to know why my consent to receiving information by email is required in order to participate in an online poll.
Don’t boycott – the Olympics provide one of the few opportunities for the world to come together. A nuclear war between China and the USA is not impossible and anything that sidesteps that terrible possibility and reduces war fever is good.
Don’t boycott – I am strongly against doing what the USA wants of us. How about we object, boycott that warmongering USA? Tired of the ‘pro USA despite their crimes against humanity’ stance that Canada has taken. We don’t want to be ‘best friends’ with the World’s biggest terrorist ( the USA). Enough already. How about some truth.
Don’t boycott – Washington is using democracy and human rights as a cynical tool for hegemony against rivals China and Russia and other disobedient countries. Canada should have no part of it. Where is concern for Meng Wanzhou and Julian Assange?
Don’t boycott – If individual athletes wish to boycott the Beijing Olympics, that is their right, as a nation however we can boycott any event in any country only as a national response. The Olympics were designed to be a competition between athletes, devoid of any political connection and it should still be so, today.
Boycott – We must put all our energies into saving the planet. We must go Green in every way possible. We must slow down travel, some way????
Don’t boycott – Canada and Canadians should check out definitions of “irony” and “hypocrisy” before judging others. We seem to be very good at seeing the motes in our neighbours eyes while ignoring the beams in our own.
Unsure – The reason I’m ‘unsure’ is because Canada needs to address our own lack of human rights in the treatment – or lack of it?- of Indigenous people, their communities (water, for example) and also our people of colour, before pointing accusatory fingers at China.
I’d like to believe that Canada is on the right track but until actions to address the rights of our Indigenous and people of colour, I remain unsure and also deeply concerned.
Don’t boycott – This boycott is part of taking our country in the direction of war.
Unsure – I’m growing more concerned about the apparent ramping up of hostility toward China. It seems that the Americans have been on this course for awhile and we’re following suit.
That’s not to say human rights violations are OK, but our hypocrisy is showing. Supporting sanctions against Venezuela or Iran which is causing severe civilian hardship and death when we aren’t threatened by them, isn’t supportive of human rights.
Boycott – Trudeau should stand up more firmly against China’s abuses and encroachments on civil liberties.
Don’t boycott – First, the Olympics in their current form are an economic, ecological, and political disaster. Everyone should boycott them until they’re totally reformed.
Second, if Canada boycotted the Olympics it would not be for humanitarian reasons but instead because, ever since NAFTA and annually increasing, Canada has become little better than a vassal of US imperialism, which intends to destroy Chinese competition for global hegemony.
Third, Canada’s own record, with regard to “human rights” and “genocide,” is nothing to brag about: just ask the victims of Canadian military and corporate abuse in Haiti, Central America, and its own First Nations.
Boycott – In the midst of such unknowns of the pandemic and vaccine deliveries, I think the govt is doing well. The economic outpouring for people generally is outstanding but I definitely do not support giving subsidies to huge profit-making companies. It is most urgent that the government provide good drinking water and sewage for all First Nations.
Choose someone from a First Nations tribe to be the next Governor General.
Definitely boycott the Olympic Games in China because of China’s genocide vs Uighurs, other human rights abuses.
Be generous with impoverished nations to provide vaccines.
Open immigration to those most in need . . . refugees, asylum seekers.
Face the First Nations’ missing and murdered girls and women scandal and make the safety of the living a priority.
Thank-you Peace Quest!