EU parliament vice president wants Olympic boycott

The Chinese government's crackdown on Falun Gong followers began in 1999
The Chinese government's crackdown on Falun Gong followers began in 1999

China's "genocidal campaign of repression" against a popular religion should result in a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games, a prominent European politician believes.

Edward McMillan-Scott, a Conservative MEP, says he believed the Chinese government was carrying out organ harvesting against those in its prisoners.

He cites research by UN for special rapporteur Manfred Novak that three-quarters of China's seven million detainees are Falun Gong followers.

The religion, which encourages forbearance, compassion and truthfulness, had 70 million followers by 1999 when Beijing launched its campaign against them.


Mr McMillan-Scott says it reflects wider failings within the Chinese government.

"The situation of human rights in China is so severe we need to go back to the 1936 situation where, had we known. the Olympics would not have taken place," he said at thinktank Policy Exchange in London.

"The Olympics are all about the human spirit. China specialises in crushing it."

Mr McMillan-Scott said the European parliament had pressed the International Olympic Committee for its public and private undertakings with China on human rights issues. It responded by saying it had no political standpoint on the issue, he said.

A sense that it was too late to take action against China grew during last week's Policy Exchange debate, which culminated when the speakers focused on the IOC's decision to award China the Games in 2001.

Heavy expectations were placed on China to improve its human rights record then, fundamentally linking sport and politics in a way which attracted criticism from the panel.

Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat frontbencher and president of the Tibet Society, said the IOC "has not done what it should have done - it should have been rather firmer than it has been".

And Mr McMillan-Scott added the IOC had made a "very political decision".

"Politics are in sport. The Chinese government asked what they want and they got it. That was public opinion," he added.

Comments