US intention to boycott 2022 Olympics in Beijing deemed dubious

Spokesman for the US State Department Nad Price said that he considers the issue of boycotting the Beijing 2022 Olympics a topical topic and plans to discuss the prospects for such a step with NATO allies. A purely diplomatic boycott of the Games is possible, as well as the absence of athletes from Western countries in principle.

A heated debate erupted this week after US State Department spokesman Ned Price said a potential boycott of the Beijing Olympics was “on the agenda” and that America plans to talk to its allies about not attending the games.

Over the past month, diplomats have increasingly talked about the pros and cons of boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing – especially after leading global brands were sanctioned by China for protesting the inhuman treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang.

A spokesman for the US State Department separately stressed that the US has not yet discussed the coordination of a joint boycott with other countries, however, China immediately launched a counteroffensive.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Wednesday that any US attempt to criticize China over forced labor in Xinjiang is “doomed to failure” and will be met with “firm opposition and a determined response from the Chinese people.”

“The US Olympic Committee and the rest of the international community will not accept this. We have confidence that we will work with all parties to ensure a successful and extraordinary grandiose Olympic event, ”Zhao told reporters in Beijing.

However, before conducting international negotiations to coordinate the boycott of the Olympic Games, the United States needs to achieve a consensus within the country. America is extremely polarized, and even within the same parties there are often conflicting opinions on key laws. Nevertheless, the idea of ​​confronting China is close to both Republicans and Democrats.

At the same time, opposition Republicans have shown even more zeal in punishing China than the ruling Democrats. US President Joe Biden has come under growing pressure from some human rights groups and conservative lawmakers to boycott the games over what the Biden administration has called “genocide of predominantly Muslim ethnic Uyghurs.”

John Katko, a Republican congressman from New York, said on Tuesday that Biden should push for the transfer of the games from China “to a country that embodies democracy and the spirit of the Olympic Charter.”

Another Republican, Senator Mitt Romney, shares the outrage of the party member, but believes that the United States should send its athletes to the Beijing Games. But, as he wrote in a New York Times column last month, American viewers and politicians should stay at home, and American corporations, he added, should also not send executive and client delegations to the four-year event.

While most experts doubt that the United States will declare a full boycott of the Olympics, they noted that a lot could change before the opening ceremony, which will take place in 10 months. However, the Biden administration is likely to stay away from Beijing, even if plans for a full boycott are not implemented. It is also unlikely that much enthusiasm can be expected from countries that do not have the economic power of the United States.

According to Zhou Qi, director of the Institute for Global Governance and Development, Tongji University in Shanghai, “The United States is likely to make a lot of noise over the boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, as it will not miss an opportunity to tarnish China’s image, but the chances of an actual boycott are slim.”

“China’s global status and economic weight is giving thought not only to the IOC (International Olympic Committee), but also to countries that may not be interested in being opposed by enormous economic power,” said Jules Boykoff, professor at the University of the Pacific in Oregon.

“Most likely, bans will be introduced on the import of certain products from countries that declare their readiness to boycott the Games and on the activities of companies from these countries. If the US is seen as the leader of the boycott, it is likely that US-China relations will deteriorate significantly, ”predicted the Chinese reaction Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser on Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Published in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” No. 28514 of April 8, 2021

Newspaper headline:
Olympics are being boycotted

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