Boxing community weighs in on ethical concerns with Canada in the Winter Olympics

China's treatment of Uyghur minority a concern for some Olympic fans

Country flags hang in Scarberian Boxing Club to showcase diversity in the sport. (Haider Ali/Toronto Observer) 

China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority is prompting members of Canada’s boxing community to question whether Canada should boycott this year’s Winter Olympics.

Some sports fans are also contemplating the ethical dilemma of whether tuning in for the Games in Beijing is a form of tacit support for China, or whether they can simply tune in and enjoy the competition.

Daron Abdullah Laban, owner of Scarberian Boxing Club in Toronto, suggests that it is difficult to have a solid stance because voicing an opinion on the issue might portray boxing clubs as being too political. 

“Ethically, it is horrible that this is the circumstance for where this is hosted,” he said.

“But as far as it goes for actual sporting competition, purely for that, it seems just like each year’s competition.”

Canada’s House of Commons passed a motion in early 2021 declaring that China’s treatment of Uyghurs a genocide, though a motion later failed in the Senate. Canada has also joined an international effort at the United Nations calling on China to allow investigators to have free access to Xinjiang, the region in which the Uyghurs live.

The federal government later announced a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in Beijing.

China, for its part, has denied any human rights abuses related to the Muslim minority.

Laban said that in the end, it is difficult to not have mixed opinions on this year’s event, but he said people are free to choose where they stand and what they want to do about it.

A boxing glove signed by a Filipino boxing star, now a senator in the Philippines is on display at Scarberian Boxing club (Haider Ali/Toronto Observer)

Mohamed Yoosuf, a member at the Scarberian Boxing club, said that from a technical and practical point of view, Canada simply pull out a large international event like the Olympics.

“China is a big economic country and Canada relies on it too for goods,” said Yoosuf.

“America works a lot with China and Canada works a lot with America, so if Canada just pulls out then this might damage Canada’s reputation and economy in the future.”

Yoosuf suggests that for any one boxer it will be too much a weight to take a stand for the minority group and this can put them in danger and scrutiny.

He recommends it would much more plausible if Canada’s teams as a whole hold a sign or flag for awareness. That way, more people will adore Canada, he said.

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Posted: Jan 30 2022 11:09 pm
Filed under: Athletics News Opinion Sports