Diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games grows

Canada, Great Britain and Australia are emulating the United States and will not send official government officials to Beijing for the Winter Olympics. What Germany does is open.

The Olympic flame burns in Beijing. Photo: Zhang Chenlin / XinHua / dpa (Image: dpa)
(Photo: Zhang Chenlin / XinHua / dpa)

Sydney – Even as more and more Western countries join the diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022, new Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has been reluctant on this issue.

“The Olympic Games are always a contribution to the coexistence of the world,” said Scholz after his election as chancellor of the television network Welt. “We will make decisions when necessary.” The new government is in talks with many others.

It is “a diplomatic boycott”

After the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia also announced the corresponding steps. “Canada remains deeply concerned about reports of human rights violations in China,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter. It is “effectively a diplomatic boycott,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in the London Parliament. «As I said before, we do not support a sports boycott. But there are no plans for cabinet members to attend the Winter Olympics, ”Johnson said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had previously made a similar statement in Sydney. This decision “was not a surprise” to him, he added. He cited a series of misunderstandings between Canberra and Beijing as the reason, including China’s criticism of Australia’s decision to buy nuclear-powered submarines. His government had again denounced “human rights violations in Xinjiang and other issues”, but the Chinese government had shown no willingness to speak. Australian athletes, like British athletes, should participate in the Beijing games, Morrison stressed.

The head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, said that “the presence of government officials is a purely political decision of any government. The IOC’s principle of political neutrality also applies to this decision. ”

Massive criticism of Beijing

China responded with massive criticism of Australia’s decision. “The Australian government blindly follows certain countries, so it cannot tell right from wrong,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in Beijing. Australia violated the principle of political neutrality in the Olympic Charter. Australia’s justification “with the so-called human rights problem in Xinjiang is just a pretext to smear China,” Wang Wenbin said, adding: “China never had plans to invite any Australian officials to the games. it matters if they come or not. ”

Following the American push, European politician Nicola Beer (FDP) spoke out in favor of a total boycott of the Winter Games. The European Union should “not only remain in the wake of the United States, but defend the observance of human rights and speak out in favor of a total boycott of the Winter Games,” the vice-president of the EU Parliament told the newspapers. from the “Funke Mediengruppe” (Wednesday).

The diplomatic boycott demanded by the United States is late, said the FDP politician, and is “the least” that can be expected from the West. The Winter Olympics in China in February 2022 are “a wrong setting in the wrong place.” Clear signals from the West in the direction of Beijing are long overdue, Beer said, referring to the “brutal crackdown on Uighurs, Chinese aggression against Hong Kong and Taiwan.”

Steinmeier had no travel plans.

The candidate for the presidency of the CDU, Friedrich Merz, also calls for this step from the EU. ‘The European Union should also make this decision in the same way. This would allow athletes to participate in the Olympics, but the Beijing regime would be largely isolated politically, “the politician told the news portal” t-online. “A diplomatic boycott of the games is correct due to continued violations. of human rights in China.

The top leadership of the new semaphore government formed by the SPD, the Greens and the FDP has so far left open whether they will join the boycott. SPD Secretary General Lars Klingbeil spoke out against it. “No, that’s something that I view with a lot of skepticism that the Olympics are being boycotted,” Klingbeil told radio station ffn. In his opinion, major sporting events are always “an opportunity to point out critical social developments in a specific way.”

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will not fly to the Winter Games. “There are no plans of the federal president to travel to Beijing,” said a spokeswoman for the federal president of the ARD “Sportschau”. “These plans did not exist until the United States announced its decision.”

On December 6, the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games in Beijing (February 4-22, 2022) in protest of human rights violations in China. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden’s administration would not send diplomatic or official representatives to Beijing.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211208-99-300635 / 6

Jamie Franklin

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