By Martin Banks - 1st October 2007
EU countries have been urged by one of parliament’s most senior MEPs to boycott next year’s Beijing Olympics unless China intervenes in Myanmar.
UK Tory deputy Edward McMillan-Scott has written to the EU’s Portuguese presidency and British premier Gordon Brown asking them to discuss whether athletes should oppose the games.
McMillan-Scott, one of the assembly's vice presidents, is backed by the EPP-ED, parliament’s largest group, and ALDE, the third biggest.
“The consensus around parliament is that China is the key. It is the puppet master of Burma. The Olympics is the only real lever we have to make China act,” he said.
“The civilised world must seriously consider shunning China by using the games to send the clear message that such abuses of human rights are not acceptable.”
ALDE group leader Graham Watson said, “The EU must push for common action as a bloc or via the UN general assembly on China and its Asian trade partners over Burma.”
China publicly called for restraint in Myanmar, formerly Burma, for the first time on Thursday.
Parliament last week adopted a resolution condemning the recent military crackdown in Burma and called for ‘targeted’ economic sanctions if the ruling junta fails to heed calls for democracy.
MEPs also “applauded the courageous actions” of the Burmese monks in confronting the regime in Burma.
“This religious mass movement is finding echoes all over Asia including China, Korea and Tibet,” said McMillan-Scott.
“You cannot kill faith, if you try it will kill you.”