Canada should boycott China games
Canada has finally ordered its soldiers to China.
But, not to rescue two Canadians being held hostage by the Chinese government.
Instead, about 170 Canadian Armed Forces members are being deployed to the dark heart of the communist empire to participate in a “military Olympics” from Oct. 15-30. Their mission: establish goodwill with the People’s Liberation Army and other international armed forces. Good luck with that.
It’s a laudable goal. But it’s not the right goal right now.
As long as China continues to hold two innocent Canadian citizens in prison, Canada must stop pretending it’s “business as usual” between our two nations. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been held in a Chinese prison, without appropriate access to Canadian consular services, since Dec. 10, 2018. Reports say they’ve been held in solitary confinement without access to the outdoors, under 24/7 illumination and subjected to hours of interrogation each day.
That is patently unacceptable.
This is not the time to be making nice with China, no matter that these games have a long history. Founded in 1948 to promote “friendship through sport,” the International Military Sports Council (CISM) was at first a European initiative. Over the decades since, it’s grown to include 139 member countries around the world. The first modern Military World Games were held in 1995, and have occurred every four years since.
The 7th World Military Summer Games in Wuhan, China will see more than 6,000 military athletes from around the world compete in events ranging from traditional athletic sports such as archery, fencing, basketball and soccer to more military sports such as military pentathlon, parachuting, orienteering and shooting.
The games provide an opportunity for military athletes from diverse armies to compete in friendly games hosted in a different international city each year. This year, Canada is sending 114 military athletes and 57 coaches and support staff. It’s a great perk and a motivator for our troops. But, this year they shouldn’t be there.
It can be argued amateur sporting events such as the Olympics shouldn’t be a venue for global politics. But, this is not amateur sport. Canada’s military is a tool of government and military action is an extension of diplomacy. Our troops know this. They also know the lives of two Canadian citizens are more important than a friendly sports meet in a hostile country.
Make no mistake about it, China is a hostile country. They’re playing for keeps in this war of wills against Canada. And they’re willing. They view our government as naive — the official spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry literally said so. Our “sunny ways” government has done everything possible to prove them right.
It’s time Ottawa recognizes that things have changed. China is not our friend. They certainly have not been friendly.
The Communist Party of China has branded these military games under a banner of “Military Glory World Peace.” But, there’s nothing glorious or peaceful in the behaviour of China’s backward and unsophisticated government.
Canada should not lend it any credibility. Bring our troops home.
Should Canada be sending military personnel to China to compete in International Military Sports Council events?