Canada U.S. raises possibility of boycotting Beijing Olympics over China's human rights record
NHL postpones Canucks' next three games due to COVID
The NHL has postponed three more games for the Vancouver Canucks, shutting them down through April 6 after Travis Hamonic was added to the COVID protocol on Thursday. Hamonic joined Adam Gaudette, who has tested positive for coronavirus and a member of the team’s coaching staff. © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports The NHL has shut down the Canucks through April 6. The league is hoping that the Canucks will be able to play on April 8 against the Calgary Flames, but games against the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets in the coming days will have to be pushed. All practices have also been canceled for the time being.
The United States on Tuesday said that it is looking to discuss with partners and allies how to proceed with participation in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, amid growing calls for a boycott of the Games over China’s human rights record.
Canada, too, has faced pressure for a boycott of the Games, especially because of China’s imprisonment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians seized in December 2018 in what’s widely believed to be retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who’s facing extradition to the United States.
NHL postpones Wednesday's Calgary-Vancouver game
The NHL has decided to ere on the side of caution as a result of Adam Gaudette’s positive COVID-19 test. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that tonight’s game between the Canucks and Flames has been postponed. TSN’s Frank Seravalli tweets that the decision was made after more information has surfaced regarding Vancouver’s test results; that information obviously has not yet been made public.
Ned Price, a U.S. state department spokesperson, told reporters the possibility of a joint boycott is “something that we certainly wish to discuss.” Price said “a coordinated approach will be not only in our interests but also in the interests of our allies and partners.”
He later clarified that he was referring to the U.S. having a coordinated approach rather than saying the United States was specifically discussing a joint boycott. In a Tuesday afternoon tweet, Price said “we don’t have any announcement regarding the Beijing Olympics.”
The United States has sanctioned top Chinese officials for their participation in the genocide of the Uyghurs, an ethnic Muslim minority. Wang Junzheng, the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, were sanctioned on March 22.
'A self-centred giant baby': How China is bashing Canada
There was once a time when the official stance of the People’s Republic of China towards Canada was indifference spiced with the occasional Norman Bethune reference. Those days are now firmly over: Under the rule of Xi Jinping, China has adopted an openly aggressive stance towards the Maple Leaf, a position represented most notably by the imprisonment of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. © Provided by National Post Ambassador of China to Canada Cong Peiwu speaks as part of a panel at the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence in Ottawa, on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
“(The U.S. Department of the Treasury) is committed to promoting accountability for the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention and torture, against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities,” Andrea M. Gacki, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement.
On February 22, Canada’s parliament declared the Chinese treatment of the Uyghurs a genocide. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from the vote.
The Canadian government has passed decisions about the possibility of a games boycott — the Beijing Olympics begin on Feb. 4, 2022 — to the Canadian Olympic Committee.
“The decision on whether or not to participate in Olympic and Paralympic games lies with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees as they operate independently of the government,” Camille Gagné-Raynauld, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau,
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The Conservatives’ foreign affairs critic, Michael Chong, has said that a boycott should be an option.
Canada last boycotted an Olympic Games in 1980, when they were held in Moscow. Canada and the United States boycotted the Games in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
In late February, the White House said it had not made a final decision on whether the United States would take part in the 2022 Winter Olympics in China and would look for guidance from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which had no comment.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott has been urging President Joe Biden to push for the Olympics to be relocated to the United States.
“If Biden truly stands for human rights, he will immediately begin this process by offering to host the games in the United States and providing the necessary federal resources to get this done,” Scott said in a Tuesday statement.
With additional reporting by Reuters
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CBC Sports' Andi Petrillo knows pandemic adds new hurdles to challenge of broadcasting an Olympics .
Like the thousands of athletes dealing with uncertainty ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, international broadcasters like CBC Sports have had to be innovative in their preparations for the 16-day sporting marathon.The CBC Sports host was interviewing Canada's Sandrine Mainville shortly after she earned a relay bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with the swimmer unaware of two people standing barely out of camera range.