Protests against the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, with particular pressure on China's role in the Darfur conflict, in Myanmar and the country's treatment of Tibetans. The fact that the Winter Olympics will be held in China in February 2022 has also provoked reactions. Photo: Peter M. Source: Flickr.


Several countries are boycotting the Winter Olympics in Beijing

On February 4, many of the world's top athletes will gather when the Winter Olympics kick off. However, the fact that the sporting event will be held in the Chinese capital Beijing has been met with a number of diplomatic boycotts from Western countries, due to the human rights violations taking place in the country.

The genocide against Uighurs in Xinjiang, the persecution of Tibetans and the restrictions on democracy in Hong Kong. These are some of the events that most Western countries, led by the United States, say are the reason for their diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

It was in early December that the Biden administration announced that no US officials would attend the event due to China's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses." Since then, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Australia, among others ended up behind the boycott. The latest addition is Denmark, which also wants to mark against China human rights violations. No Swedish officials will be in Beijing either, but this refers to the covid situation in the world.

The boycott is supported by several organizations and associations, including World Uyghur Congress, Free Tibet, Stand With Hong Kong and Keep Taiwan Free. Under the hashtag # NoBeijing2022 calls on more countries to boycott and athletes to educate themselves about what is happening in China.

- The International Olympic Committee has put athletes in an impossible position by allowing the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held against the background of serious and worsening human rights violations. We urge athletes to find out more about what is happening and become allies, say the more than 80 organizations in their joint website.

China's human rights abuses have triggered a diplomatic boycott of the popular sporting event. However, some believe that such a boycott is the wrong way to go. Photo: Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Source: Flickr.

However, not everyone agrees that a boycott is the right way to go. Sebastian Coe, head of the international athletics organization World Athletics, believes that a boycott would be a mistake and also be meaningless. Instead, he advocates dialogue and relations between the countries. Sebastian Coe believes that we must be realistic on these issues, and that there will always be cultural, political and social challenges when events are to be held around the world. There, however, sports can play an important role, he says.

- I have repeatedly witnessed the impact sports have had… The overall effect can sometimes be quite profound, he tells The Guardian.

The Chinese government has previously warned that the countries implementing the boycott will receive "Pay the price" for that, and Chinese journalist Chen Weihua has called on China to boycott the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028. The allegations of human rights abuses against the country are also dismissed as lies, fabricated by anti-Chinese forces. Ahead of the upcoming sporting event has the country's foreign minister said that "the political manipulation of some Western politicians will not hurt the enthusiasm for the Olympics, but will only expose their own ugliness".

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