A former Canadian ambassador to China says Canada should not be humouring China’s Olympic bid in wake of reports of massive human rights abuses against China’s Uighur minority.

On Monday, David Mulroney, former Canadian Ambassador to China, told Metro Morning that Canada should not send athletes to the 2022 Winter Olympics in China while such human rights abuses are ongoing.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) reported this week that the Chinese Communist state was now using social media to commit mass surveillance on Uighurs and other minorities.

Since 2017, China has interned over 1 million people from the Muslim Uighur minority, or nearly 10% of the entire Uighur population. This represents the largest mass-internment of people since World War 2.

One Uighur woman who was detained by the Chinese government for three months without trial told reporters that anyone found to be looking at religious content on their phone gets detained.

“I think most of the Uighur people who study here or are living here feel the pressure from the Chinese government,” a Uighur student in Canada told CBC.

ICIJ also found that thousands of Uighurs who live outside of China were being watched online by the Chinese regime, including those living in the West.

In a statement to True North, Guillaume Bérubé, a Foreign Affairs spokesman, said Canada has spoken out against human rights abuses in China but did not say if any retaliatory action was being considered.

“Canada has consistently spoken out publicly at the UN Human Rights Council urging Chinese authorities to release all Uighurs arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang. This includes statements in September 2018, November 2018, and March 2019,” Bérubé said.

“We continue to call on the Chinese government to ensure the human rights of its people — including freedom of religion — are fully respected.”

Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan suggested China and Canada can work together and come to an agreement on their detention of Michael Korvig and Michael Spavor. Sajjan said that China was not an adversary of Canada.

It has been almost a year since China detained the two Canadians on trumped-up charges, in retaliation to the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. 

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