The United States proposes to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Games

The human rights trajectory in China is giving the international community a headache in the run-up to the 2022 Winter Olympics. The United States is looking for allies in the boycott. Is this realistic and will it help?

February 4, 2022. This date has been circled in red in the Xi Jinping calendar for nearly five years. Then the Chinese leader opened the 24th Winter Olympic Games. For more than two weeks, the world’s best skaters, cross-country skiers, snowboarders, athletes, (art) skiers, ice hockey players, short trackers, skaters, skaters, curling and skeletal practitioners have dedicated themselves to conquering the world’s highest levels. Sports Award in Beijing.

Unless political maneuvering is a cause for action after all. The attribution of the event to the Chinese capital is indisputable. Months ago, more than 160 human rights organizations urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2022 Winter Games to another country. “Because of the human rights track, China does not deserve such an event,” she says.

the essence

  • The United States launched a balloon at its allies due to the boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022.
  • The option should be put on the table, according to Washington, due to China’s poor human rights report.
  • Diplomats and analysts estimate that the chance of a harsh boycott, as happened during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, is slim.
  • They suspect that the United States and its allies will give up this option for fear of political and economic punishment by the Chinese.
  • They consider a diplomatic boycott, in which countries send a less prominent political delegation to Beijing, as possible.


Activists accuse Beijing of increasingly restricting political freedoms in the former British colony of Hong Kong. They also point to China’s growing opposition to self-rule in Taiwan. And rub Xi Jinping and colleagues. Systematic discrimination against ethnic minorities in the Tibetan and Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

The situation in the recent region in particular made the international media in recent months. Human rights experts denounced the treatment of Uyghurs. They say that more than a million members of that Muslim minority in Xinjiang are held in camps, where they are said to be victims of forced labor and forced sterilization.

The US State Department even described the “Chinese crackdown” against the Uyghurs as “genocide” last week. Washington, along with Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, has also issued sanctions against Chinese officials who have formulated policies on the Uyghurs.

Building a front against China

Which led to the frustration of the West. Since the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the traditional allies have increasingly sought to form a front against the Asian giant. The maneuvers surrounding the 2022 Winter Olympics seem to have appeared during those talks.

Boycotting games is an option on the table. We definitely want to discuss this path.

Ned Price

Spokesman for the US State Department

Boycotting games is an option on the table. We definitely want to discuss this path … the coordinated approach is not only in our interest, but also in the interest of our allies and partners, ” Ned Price, a spokesperson for the US State Department, replied on Tuesday when asked whether the United States had discussed the boycott with other Western countries. .

After the US media picked up on the ruling, the State Department issued a statement in Washington saying it “will not discuss or discuss the coordinated boycott” with its partners. But two US allies confirmed to the British business newspaper the Financial Times that this option had already been discussed in the talks about China. We can hear in the diplomatic community in Brussels that the boycott at the European level has not been discussed yet.


It wouldn’t be the first time the United States had turned away from a major sporting event for political reasons. In 1980, they and 64 other countries boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

China will politically or economically punish countries that boycott the Beijing Games.

Such a new “strict boycott” is unlikely to diplomats and analysts. They noted that “boycotting sporting events rarely led to political changes.” Moreover, such a style can make a comeback like Boomerang. “China will punish, politically or economically, the countries that boycott the Beijing Games,” the US consultancy Eurasia Group says. This possibility can inspire fear.

Experts point to the fate of many Western companies. Raised by state media, in recent weeks online Chinese consumers have called for a boycott of giants like H&M, Nike, Adidas and Uniqlo because they have expressed their concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and have refused to use cotton from that province anymore.

The diplomatic boycott

A diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Games cannot be ruled out, according to experts from the Eurasia Group. “The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and European Member States may choose not to send an official delegation to Beijing or allow lesser-known representatives to attend the opening and closing ceremonies.”

The United States actually implemented the latter scenario in 2014. To protest Russia’s gay laws, then President Barack Obama sent an inconspicuous delegation to the Sochi Winter Games.

Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Germany.

Whether this will happen again in 2022 is uncertain. American policy is not in line with this issue. While many Republicans support a boycott, some diplomats see more redemption in a United States athlete’s victory over Xi Jinping.

“It is better to go to Beijing and dominate the games,” the American CNBC channel said in a source at the State Department. “I prefer the scenario, Jesse Owens,” said the diplomat. He was alluding to the four gold medals that the African-American sprinter won at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany against Adolf Hitler.

What about rulers in China? For now, they seem assured that Beijing will be the host city for the “full-fledged” games in early 2022. Any effort to boycott the event is doomed to failure. We have full confidence that the games will be successful and exceptional.

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