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A Background on the 2022 Winter Olympics Boycott

A call by some countries and human rights activists for a 2022 Winter Olympics boycott has been made.

The 2022 Winter Olympics is currently happening and will run until February 20. However, the sporting event has not been without any controversy. Many questioned the efforts and regulations placed in preparation for the event. At the same time, some countries held a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

2022 Winter Olympics Boycott: What Countries Did Not Participate?

A diplomatic boycott was declared by the following countries: the US, UK, Canada, India, Australia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Belgium, Denmark, and Estonia. As such, ministers or officials will not attend any of the events during the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Government officials from the different countries that conducted the 2022 Winter Olympics boycott did not agree with the human rights abuses committed by China. 

Duncan Smith, a British Member of Parliament, said that “the Chinese government commits industrial-scale human rights abuses in the Uyghur Region, Tibet and sends near-daily military incursions into Taiwan’s airspace.”  

Government officials from other countries, such as New Zealand, Austria, Slovenia, Sweden, and the Netherlands, also did not go to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics. They did not do so in disagreement with the political landscape in China. Rather, they claimed that it was unfavorable to travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, France does not believe that the 2022 Winter Olympics boycott is necessary. Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, said that “I don’t think we should politicise these topics, especially if it is to take steps that are insignificant and symbolic.”

2022 Winter Olympics Boycott: Do These Include Athletes?

The diplomatic boycott does not mean, however, that athletes from the aforementioned countries will not participate in the tournament. At the same time, government officials remained supportive of their athletes. Those competing were given the necessary resources by their home countries to compete in the games. 

No athlete has currently rescinded their participation in the tournament. They have already arrived in Beijing and entered their Olympic bubble to prepare for and compete for gold.

American athletes were not affected by the 2022 Winter Olympics boycott.
Athletes from the USA during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

This is in comparison to what occurred in the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the 1984 Los Angeles Games. At that time, thousands of athletes decided to boycott the Olympics because of the political situation in the countries where the games were held. 

The difference between years ago and now is that the Olympics has become a multibillion-dollar business. A complete boycott of the sporting event will result in great financial loss for athletes, broadcasters, and organizers. 

Apart from the athletes, almost all of the major sponsors and broadcasters have not withdrawn their support and participation in the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Only Prasar Bharati, a broadcasting company in India, chose not to broadcast the sporting event. 

The diplomatic boycott serves as a way for government officials to stand up for the values that they uphold. This act is a statement to show disagreement with what China is doing. However, it does not have any bearing on the conduct of the games.

2022 Winter Olympics Boycott: Was China Fazed? 

China stated that they were unconcerned about some countries’ diplomatic boycotts. According to a tweet from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, “in fact, no one would care whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever on the # Beijing2022 to be successfully held.”

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said that countries have used the Olympics for political manipulation. He was specifically referring to the USA, the UK, and Australia. These countries will have to face the consequences of their mistake of boycotting the Winter Olympics.

2022 Winter Olympics Boycott: What Will Happen Afterwards?

Countries may pay the price of their diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics. 

This act may encourage China to boycott the upcoming Olympics, which will be held in the USA and Australia, specifically the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the 2032 Summer Olympics in Brisbane. 

It may become a problem because many of the key sponsors of the Olympics are Chinese. The countries that will soon host the Olympics may have a difficult time attracting sponsors. This can decrease their budget and limit their preparations for the event.

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