The games are still 10 months away – a period that may seem longer given the uncertainty surrounding the current phase of the coronavirus pandemic. But it is not too early for the event to turn into a bright spot. Critics of China’s ruling Communist Party – incl A coalition of more than 180 human rights organizations They argue that the regime’s record of human rights and geopolitical violations should deny it the right to polish its image with a scene like the Olympics.
Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Olympics in 2015, the same year Was shocked Lawyers and activists across China, ” Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao Books earlier this year. Since then, two journalists have been arrested. Harassment and even attack activists and opponents Outside the borders of China; Closing down non-governmental organizations; Demolished Christian churches, Tibetan temples and Muslim mosques; Persecuted, sometimes even death, Falun Gong Believers; He sharply increased his control over the media, the Internet, universities and publishers. “
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during an event last week, “I don’t think we should have any Americans who go and participate in the“ genocide Olympics. ”He was referring to reports of mass rape and sterilization of Uyghur and Kazakh women by state authorities in China’s Xinjiang region. Some experts and the US State Department referred to it. I say it amounts to genocide.
Olympic boycott has become a common issue among Republicans. “The world is watching our next step,” said Representative John Katko (RNY).
“Given China’s terrible human rights record, false mishandling of COVID-19 during the early stages of the outbreak, and external hostility, the games should be moved,” he said. Policy Paper From the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which also insisted that the United States could exploit international concern about the Olympics to force a “course correction” within the ruling clique in Beijing.
The Biden administration offered somewhat mixed messages this week. First, State Department spokesman Ned Price He said Tuesday That boycotting the Winter Olympics was “something we definitely want to discuss” with like-minded Allies. But the State Department Explained later No high-level discussions about the boycott are planned. The next day, White House Press Secretary Jane Psaki tried to take the matter off. And she said, “We did not or discuss any joint boycott with allies and partners.”
at It happened last weekSusan Lyons, Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said her organization opposed “a boycott of athletes because it has been shown to negatively affect athletes while not effectively addressing global issues.” It is largely remembered for the United States’ boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and the subsequent Soviet boycott of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The Unfortunate Episodes of the Cold War That hurt eligible participants mostly.
Meanwhile, event organizers say they are committed to apolitical stance. “Given the diverse participation in the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee must remain impartial on all global political issues,” the International Olympic Committee said. Statement submitted to Axios, Adding that despite its commitment to support human rights, the International Olympic Committee “has neither the mandate nor the ability to change the laws or the political system of a sovereign country.”
Chinese officials used a similar tone. “The politicization of sport will harm the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the interests of athletes from all countries,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Legian said. Zhao, whose government denies international assessments of what is happening in Xinjiang, also threatened an unspecified “strong Chinese response” if the boycott continued.
But major sporting events – especially international events like the Olympics – Always carrying a political dimension. It was perhaps the most famous Olympic moment of the last century Action political protest. The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was an upcoming party for a rising China, a national competition that showcased its burgeoning soft power, in a booming metropolis as entire communities were demolished to make way for Olympic venues. Then President George W. Bush attended, Ignore human rights concerns In favor of sharing.
The picture is less rosy now, and there is little chance of a high-ranking US political delegation venturing to Beijing in February. “Athletes should participate and the competition should be broadcasted on television, but government officials and companies should stay away from it.” Written by New York Times columnist Nicholas KristofEchoing Last month’s call from Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) For an “economic and diplomatic boycott” of the Games. “I hope that while in Beijing athletes will use every opportunity to draw attention to the repression in Xinjiang or anywhere else,” Kristof added.
The boycott issue remains delicate: foreign governments and multinational corporations are wary of courting China’s wrath – and some companies have already suffered because of Speak out in so-called mass concentration camps And forced labor practices in Xinjiang. “It is possible that a ban will be imposed on selected imports of products from countries that indicate a willingness to avoid the Games and boycott companies from those countries,” said Bonnie Glaser, Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, He told Bloomberg News.
This is even more true of the countries most closely associated with Chinese investment and trade. But in the United States, the spotlight has been put on the spotlight on a list of powerful American companies sponsoring the Olympics. While many of these companies have it They found their voice politically at homeThey have largely shunned the expense of the broader crackdown in Xinjiang.
“Can these companies really expect us to take their self-congratulations on gender equality while Uyghur women are raped, sterilized, and forced into prostitution?” Wrote Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt. “There are more than 10 months left before the opening of the Winter Olympics. Companies can say to the Chinese government: Free the camps. Let the Uyghurs live in peace. Allow outside observers to come to see that you have done so. Then let the games begin.”