Wednesday, August 17

Winter Olympics: Is your country conducting a diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record?

Several countries have announced diplomatic boycotts of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China over Beijing’s human rights record.

China, which will host the two-week-long events from February 4, criticized the boycotting countries for violating the political neutrality required in the spirit of the Olympic Charter.

In essence, diplomatic boycotts will not change anything for athletes or spectators. Rather, their aim is to hurt the pride of host nations like China, which often have sports and politics mixed up in their motives for hosting events as big as the Olympics or a soccer World Cup.

Here is a summary of the countries carrying out a diplomatic boycott.



The small Baltic state member of the European Union was the first country in the world to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics.

President Gitanas Nauseda confirmed that neither he nor any government minister would be at the Games. December 3

Lithuania and China have been embroiled in a diplomatic row since the summer, when Vilnius allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in the country using “Taiwan” instead of “Chinese Taipei.”


“The federal government is not going to send representation to the Games,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed to parliamentarians on December 18.


Denmark said it would not send diplomatic representation to the Jan. 14 Olympics due to the human rights situation in China.

The rest of the EU

Despite being asked repeatedly, a number of member states have yet to make a decision, arguing that they hope to find a common EU position.

The French government has sent mixed signals. The Minister of Education, Youth and Sports told the media that some senior officials would attend because “sport is a world in itself that must be preserved as far as possible from political interference”, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that Paris is “in favor of a common position”. and that “this issue must be treated like Europe”.

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Germany has echoed the latter, arguing that the decision must be made “in harmony with our European friends.”

However, several leaders have questioned the bloc’s ability to reach a joint decision and the usefulness of a boycott, such as the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, who stated that “the Olympic Games are always political, there are no Politically Neutral Olympians”.

“As a European citizen, I wonder if it is right to send athletes to China and have political leaders watch them on television,” he added.

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg was also dubious about an “artificial politicization of the Olympics”.

Meanwhile, Sweden said representation would not attend the games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

United Kingdom

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in early December that “there will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing” as senior British officials will not attend.

“The government does not hesitate to raise these issues with China, as I did with President Xi the last time I spoke with him,” he added.



Washington announced its diplomatic boycott on December 6.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the decision was made on “the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.”

“The Team USA athletes have our full support. We will stand behind them 100 percent as we cheer on them from home, but we will not contribute to the Games fanfare,” he added.


Two days after Washington’s announcement, Ottawa did the same for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. write on twitter that “Canada remains deeply disturbed by reports of human rights violations in China.”

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“As a result, we will not be sending diplomatic representatives to Beijing for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. We will continue to support our athletes who work hard to compete on the world stage,” he added.



Tokyo announced it would not send a delegation of ministers on December 24, although it chose not to call it a diplomatic boycott, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno telling reporters: “We don’t use a particular term to describe how we attend “.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has made human rights a key part of his diplomacy and has created a special adviser post to tackle the issue and has said he looks forward to a constructive relationship with China.

“Japan believes that it is important for China to guarantee the universal values ​​of freedom, respect for basic human rights and the rule of law, which are universal values ​​in the international community,” Matsuno said. Japan took those points into consideration in making its own decision, he added.


Both of them Australia Y New Zealand they joined the movement with Canberra saying it was “the right thing to do” and in Australia’s “national interest”.

However, the New Zealand authorities have emphasized that “there were a variety of factors, but mainly related to COVID, and the fact that travel logistics and so on around COVID are not conducive to that type of travel.”

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