- The US government wants to send athletes to the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in China in February, but there are no diplomatic representatives.
- The White House on Monday (local time) announced that the US announcement is a protest against the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses in China.
- Beijing responds angrily and announces resolute countermeasures.
With the boycott, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US government wanted to send a “clear message.” When asked why the United States did not decide to boycott the Games entirely, they said they did not want to penalize athletes who trained extensively at the Games.
This is how the IOC reacts to the US boycott
In an initial reaction, the IOC describes the government officials’ presence as “a purely political decision that the IOC fully respects in its political neutrality”.
Meanwhile, the US declaration makes it clear that “the Olympics and athlete participation go beyond politics and we welcome that,” an IOC spokesperson said, referring to one of the United Nations resolution, which was unanimously adopted by all 193 member states.
The resolution includes compliance with the Olympic Truce for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games and calls on all member states to work with the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee in their efforts to use sport as a tool to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in conflict. Areas during and after the Olympic Games and their use.
According to Saki, the United States informed international partners of the plans, leaving them to make their own decisions. It is unclear whether other countries will join the United States: the French government has announced that there will be a coordinated decision at the level of Europe.
It was told by government departments in Rome that Italy would not participate in a diplomatic boycott. According to her information, the government in Australia has not yet made a decision. New Zealand has already decided not to attend the Games at the diplomatic level – but the decision will depend primarily on epidemiological considerations, in particular travel restrictions.
China feels provoked
Even before Joe Biden formally announces the boycott, there is already a harsh reaction from China: Beijing is threatening “decisive countermeasures” without giving any more precise details. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday that the announcement was “a mockery of the Olympic spirit, a political provocation and an attack on 1.4 billion Chinese.”
This ad is a mockery of the Olympic spirit, a political provocation and an attack on 1.4 billion Chinese
There is significant political tension between the United States and China due to the human rights situations, but also due to many other issues. The relationship between the two countries fell to its lowest level since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979.
Boycott calls are repeated over and over again
The Winter Olympics will be held in China from February 4-20, 2022. The authoritarian country is accused of violating human rights, especially against minorities such as Uyghur Muslims.
A human rights organization welcomes the boycott
In an interview with Agence France-Presse, spokeswoman Mi Fong said that the United States received applause from Human Rights Watch and Human Rights Watch for its diplomatic boycott, saying: “We believe this is a step in the right direction.” “After all, we and many other organizations have said that it is really impossible to celebrate the Olympics at a time when the country is committing a lot of human rights violations, especially in Xinjiang.”
Fong said HRW was hoping “the world will realize that it is no longer the time to look the other way,” adding, “It is not acceptable to celebrate the Games and help Beijing distinguish itself when.” One million Turkish Muslims and Uyghurs are in prison.”
Human rights groups cite the autonomous regions of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong as examples of Chinese retaliation. Thus, the boycott’s demands are repeatedly raising their voice regarding the Winter Games there.
Brief evaluation of SRF’s Chinese correspondent Martin Aldrovandi
The US announcement that it will not send any official representatives to Beijing is an “insult” to China, says SRF China correspondent Martin Aldrovandi. Because: Normally, countries often send high-ranking personalities to the Olympics. “For example, United States First Lady Jill Biden was present at the Summer Games in Tokyo. Or even then-US President George W. Bush was present at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.”
The Chinese government is now trying to limit the damage and should hope that many countries will not now join such a diplomatic boycott. Because China will have a bigger problem then, says Aldrovandi.
“The Communist Party controls the media, and imposes great censorship.” As long as only the US boycotted the games, China could try to control this narrative and present the situation as if the US wanted to harm the country or not allow the Chinese to play these games. “If a whole chain of countries joined now, it would be even more difficult.”
For many countries – including Switzerland – deciding who to send to Beijing is now a balancing act without upsetting China.
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