Calls For Diplomatic Boycott Beijing Winter Olympics

The Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics are going to take place in February 2022, but some nations are refusing to send official visitors because of alleged human rights abuses by China.

The Winter Olympics will take place from February 4 to February 20, and the Winter Paralympics from March 4 to March 13. The Chinese government and businesses in the country are spending $3.9 billion on the events in and around Beijing, and around 3,000 athletes will take part in 109 different events. In the Paralympics, there will be 736 competitors in 78 events.

Due to alleged atrocities against the Uyghur Muslim community in the northwest province of Xinjiang, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the United States, Lithuania, and Kosovo have declared a diplomatic boycott of the Games.

Some have referred to China’s conduct in the region as genocide.

When the US announced its decision, China’s Foreign Ministry said that the US had “clearly violated the Olympic spirit” and “will pay a price for its erroneous actions”, but has not specified what actions China might take.

Human rights groups believe more than one million Uyghurs have been detained over the past few years in a large network of “re-education camps”, and hundreds of thousands sentenced to prison terms. Uyghurs are also being used as forced labor and women are being forcibly sterilized. Some former camp detainees have also alleged they were tortured and sexually abused.

China has always denied violating human rights in Xinjiang. The country, however, has also been accused of restricting the freedom of people in Hong Kong. It has denied all allegations and warned its most vocal accusers not to interfere in China’s “internal affairs.”

China’s neighbor, Japan, is expected to join the boycott, according to the BBC. So far, France and South Korea have announced they will not follow. French President Emmanuel Macron said, “I don’t think we should politicize these topics, especially if it is to take steps that are insignificant and symbolic.”

Because the countries are still sending their athletes to compete, these boycotts are seen as international hypocrisy. No ministers or officials are expected to attend, in what has been described as an easy way to appear to convey a castigate while avoiding a harsher step such as a full boycott.

Some human rights organizations have praised the #NoBeijing2022 campaign’s virtualization and encouraged diplomatic boycotts, however, other protesters believe that athletes, corporate sponsors, and broadcasters should boycott the Games and not attend.

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