Concern about China games

Re.: China pushes on Huawei (Castanet, Dec. 7)

The article in Castanet, reporting the speech by the Chinese ambassador to Canada was timely.

Cong Peiwu alternately berated us for being concerned about the fate of the Uighurs and threatened us for supporting Taiwan in what will inevitably be a military conflict. Maybe now is a good time to review our relationship with China.

I am surprised that there has been so little condemnation in this country of the decision to send a team to the 2022 Winter Olympics. Our government has washed its hands of any responsibility, saying that it is not a political decision. This may be so, but for the CCP it is very much a political victory to have other countries participating in a showcase event such as this.

For me it beggars belief that we can allow athletes to go and compete in a country that kidnapped two Canadians (Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor) and held them hostage for three years in appalling conditions. Less well known is the story of another Canadian, Huseyin Celil, who was arrested in Uzbekistan in 2006 and subsequently moved to China, where nobody has heard from him since.

Celil was a human rights activist for the Uighurs, and so he has probably been put in a concentration camp (or re-education camps as they are known in China) with approximately two million of his fellow countrymen.

The disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai from public life was a further indictment of the Chinese Communist Party's willingness to break every acceptable norm in dealing with people who challenge its authority. Her "crime" was to accuse a senior party official of sexual assault, but of course in China top officials are beyond the law so she was the one punished.

I wonder how long it will be before her name slips from the headlines, and she is quietly condemned to her fate. The WTA, to its credit, has refused to play any more tournaments in China until her situation is resolved, and the CEO of the WTA, Steve Simon, is quoted as saying: "Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022."

One has to wonder then how safe our athletes will be if they choose to compete. Suppose one of them says something critical of the CCP, will they also suddenly disappear? If this were to happen, it would be on the heads of (those in) our government, who have consistently refused to take action for fear of upsetting the Chinese government. They have still made a decision to ban Huawei, despite the fact our security partners have all banned the company, from participating in 5G networks over security fears.

Our prime minister has made no secret of his admiration for the CCP but it is time for him to stop placating that despotic regime and represent the interests of our country, not himself.

Peter Emery, Kelowna

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