These countries will refrain from sending their officials to the Chinese capital for the Games.
Normally, every country sends athletes and delegates to represent them in the Winter Olympics. However, this time, things have taken a controversial turn. A number of nations have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics.
A diplomatic boycott means no official delegate will travel to China for the Games. The nations will, however, send their athletes to participate in the events. The reason for the diplomatic boycott is over human rights concerns in China.
Many nations have criticized China for human rights abuses towards the Uyghur minority in their northwestern Xinjiang province. Some have termed the abuses as genocide, with the Uyghur minority being oppressed in the region. Moreover, China’s suppression of the protests in Hong Kong is seen as another reason why some nations have opted against sending their official delegates for the games. So far, four countries have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics.
The United States America have a highly decorated record at the Winter Olympics. The USA have won 105 gold medals in history of the competition, second highest for any nation. They’ve also participated in 23 Winter Olympic Games – the joint-most for any nation in history. However, the White House revealed a few days ago that they’ll have a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. The USA will not send a single government official to the Games, which could be embarrassing for the event.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “US diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that.”
However, the USA administrators have promised their full support to the athletes who will be travelling to participate in the events. Earlier in 2021, the USA sent first lady Jill Biden with the USA Olympics team for the Tokyo Olympics – but will not send any delegate for the winter Olympics.
The Canadian Winter Olympics team has also earned an impressive reputation over the decades. They’ve won 74 gold medals in history, being one of the most decorated nations in the history of the iconic competition. However, they also announced the decision of a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that their decision of a diplomatic boycott “shouldn’t come as a surprise” for China.
He added, “We have been very clear over the past many years of our deep concerns around human rights violations and this is a continuation of us expressing our deep concerns for human rights violations.”
However, the Canadian PM also assured that the country would send their own team to participate in the events.
Great Britain is yet another participating side to announce their decision of a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics. Their team has participated in every single Winter Olympics so far in history, even though their medal count doesn’t match up to the likes of the USA or Canada.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the boycott by saying, “There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. No ministers are expected to attend and no officials. What I can tell the house is I don’t think sporting boycotts are sensible and that remains the policy of the government.”
Team Great Britain will, however, be sent to participate in the upcoming Games. Johnson also confirmed that the boycott is because of China’s history of human rights abuses towards the Uyghur minority.
Australia are the fourth nation to have announced a diplomatic boycott for the Winter Olympics. This comes due to China’s unwillingness to talk to Australian government officials about the alleged human rights abuses to minorities in Xinjiang.
There has also been strains in Australia’s trade relations with China. China have increased the tariff on Australian commodities such as barley, beef, coal and wine after Australia banned Chinese company Huawei technologies from its 5G network recently.
Australian PM spoke about the decision for the diplomatic boycott. He remarked, “Australian government officials (will), therefore, not be going to China for those games. Australian athletes will, though.”
There is an expectation that more nations might step up and join these four countries with a diplomatic boycott to force China into taking action upon the human rights abuses in the country.