And now Canada too: The diplomatic boycott of the Olympics is getting wider

Updated December 8, 2021 at 8:03 pm

  • Canada, Great Britain, and Australia mimic the United States and will not send official government officials to Beijing for the Winter Olympics.
  • What Germany is doing is open. The Federal President will not be there.

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Even if more and more Western countries join the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, new chancellor Olaf Schulz (SPD) has shown himself reluctant to answer that question. “The Olympic Games are always a contribution to global coexistence,” Schultz said after being elected as chancellor on Wednesday to TV station Welt. “We will make decisions when they come.” The new government is in talks with many others.

After the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Australia also announced similar steps on Wednesday. “Canada remains deeply disturbed by reports of human rights abuses in China,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in Parliament in London that this was a “de facto diplomatic boycott”. “As I said before, we do not support a boycott of sports. But there are no plans for members of the government to attend the Winter Olympics,” Johnson said.

Athletes must participate in the Games

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had made a similar statement earlier in Sydney. He added that this decision did not come as a surprise to him. He cited a number of misunderstandings between Canberra and Beijing as the reason, including China’s criticism of Australia’s decision to buy nuclear-powered submarines. His government once again denounced “human rights abuses in Xinjiang and other issues,” but the Chinese government has not shown any willingness to speak out. Morrison stressed that Australian athletes – like British athletes – should take part in the Games in Beijing.

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China responded with strong criticism of Down Under’s decision. “The Australian government is blindly following certain countries so they can’t distinguish between right and wrong,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in Beijing on Wednesday. Australia violated the principle of political neutrality in the Olympic Charter. Wang Wenbin said Australia’s reasoning “in the so-called human rights issue in Xinjiang is just an excuse to defame China,” adding that “China never had any plans to invite any Australian officials to the Games. Nobody cares whether they come or not. Not .”

“The presence of government officials is a purely political decision of any government. The IOC’s principle of political neutrality applies to this decision as well,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

European politician Peer calls for a united position

After US pressure, European politician Nicolas Beer (FDP) has spoken out in favor of a complete boycott of the Winter Games. The Vice-President of the European Parliament said in the newspapers “Funk Medingroup” (Wednesday).

The FDP politician said the diplomatic boycott demanded by the United States comes too late, and is “the least that can be expected” of the West. The Winter Olympics in China in February 2022 is considered a “wrong stage in the wrong place”. Beer said clear signals from the West in the direction of Beijing were long overdue, referring to the “brutal suppression of the Uyghurs and Chinese aggression against Hong Kong and Taiwan.”

Christian Democratic Union presidential candidate Frederick Merz also calls for such a step from the European Union. “The European Union has to make this decision as well. Athletes can participate in the Olympics, but the system in Beijing will be largely politically isolated,” the politician told T Online news portal (Wednesday). The diplomatic boycott of the Games is valid due to the ongoing human rights violations in China.

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SPD general secretary Klingbeil speaks out against boycott

The new traffic light government made up of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP has so far left open the matter whether they will join the boycott. SPD general secretary Lars Klingbeil spoke out against it. “No, that’s something I find very skeptical about boycotting the Olympics,” Klingbeil told radio station FFN. In his opinion, major sporting events are always “an opportunity to signal important social developments in a meaningful way”.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will not travel to the Winter Games. A spokeswoman for the federal president of ARD Sportschau said: “The federal president has no plans to travel to Beijing.” These plans did not exist until the United States announced its decision.

The United States on Monday announced its diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games (February 4-22, 2022) in protest of human rights abuses in China. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Biden administration will not send diplomatic or official representatives to Beijing. (dpa/fra)

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