Visser and Bierbock do not travel to China for the Olympics

DrThe Federal Minister of the Interior and the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs will not travel to China for the Winter Olympics. “She herself decided not to travel to Beijing for epidemiological reasons,” a spokesman for Interior Minister Nancy Visser, who is responsible for sports, said in Berlin on Wednesday. Several partner countries, led by the United States, had earlier announced their diplomatic boycott of the Games due to political differences with China.

A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry quoted Foreign Minister Annalena Barbuk (the Greens) as saying: “I am a big fan of sports, but I certainly will not go to the Olympics during this time. It was not unusual for foreign ministers in the past either.”

Indication of ongoing coordination processes

It was not yet clear on Wednesday whether Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Social Democratic Party) would pay a visit to the sporting event in the People’s Republic of China in February. Deputy Government Spokesperson Wolfgang Buechner noted the ongoing coordination with EU partners.


Federal Interior Minister Nancy Wieser (SPD) in Berlin on December 8th
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Photo: AFP

Minister Barbock takes a tougher stance on China on human rights issues than the previous German government. The United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada had already announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games in February. This means that athletes from these countries can participate in the Games, but no politician will come to visit them.

The sense of a diplomatic boycott is being discussed within the European Union. French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, has stated that he considers such an approach ineffective.

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