Diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics is not enough

President Biden’s decision to let his administration give clear direction on the Beijing Winter Olympics is not enough.

With two months into the Olympics and the host country’s ugly record on human rights again, more needs to be done to send China a message that it is operating beyond the bounds of its behavior. acceptable.

Yes Diplomatic boycott announced this week The Biden administration’s move is a wise move, a public rebuke to China’s growing list of human rights atrocities and an assurance that US delegations will not give tacit approval to these Olympics if they attend.

Human rights groups have joined the US government and lawmakers from several countries in describing China’s treatment of its Muslim minorities as genocide and denouncing suppressing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Pressure on China to carry out the task has only increased in the weeks since Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis star, disappeared from public view in November after she accused a top Communist Party leader of sexual assault.

Imagine the bowing signal sent if Biden were in attendance Beijing Games, as President George W. Bush did when China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, a move that gave legitimacy to a country engaged in a brutal crackdown in Tibet.

Usually, with the International Olympic Committee’s track record of awarding the Games, the prospect of resisting the repressive host country’s government falls to the athletes. Stand still at the Olympics and be questioned for not staying home, or saying nothing and engaging in misconduct.

“Silence is complicity,” American track and field athlete Clare Egan said by phone this week from Austria, where she is set to compete at her second Winter Olympics.

Egan is the rare Olympic athlete in Beijing willing to talk to me about China. Some athletes either declined my questions outright or told me they would only talk about China with no reason to fear retaliation. One such competitor expressed concern about safety at the Olympics and said the host nation’s recent track record of critics showed the need for caution.

It’s an unfair position for the Olympics’ workforce, most of whom have struggled for years in obscure sports that barely pay the bills. Athletes from the United States and the Soviet Union boycotted by state order the 1980 Moscow Olympics and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. In 2020, the executive director of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee sorry American competitors for the madness of that decision.

“Clearly aware that the decision not to send a team to Moscow has no impact on the global politics of the time and will instead only harm you – American athletes have devoted themselves to showing identity and the opportunity to represent America,” wrote Sarah Hirshland.

Egan notes the complex role big business plays in the Olympics. Athletes and teams receive significant sponsorship from corporations. At the same time, corporations also help pay for Games and use them for marketing – and serious influence.

“If I were the CEO of a company that was spending a lot of money sponsoring any event or organization, I would definitely want to make sure that event or organization would reflect well on me. ,” said Egan, chairman of the Athletes Committee of the International Biathlon Union.

Sadly, that didn’t happen at Beijing 2022, what some call the Genocide Game.

Instead of using their considerable influence to boldly speak up for human rights in China – or even more forcefully, speak boldly and raise funds entirely – the companies sponsoring the Olympics and using the Olympics as a marketing tool is putting profit above ethics.

Yes, that means you, Visa. And you, Procter & Gamble. And you, Coca-Cola, Airbnb and a few others are among the biggest sponsors of the Olympics.

Large enterprises mostly seem to be in a low position. Normally, now, with the Olympics over, we’d be flooded with ads touting each company’s role in supporting the upcoming Olympics. Not this time.

Corporations know what we all know: The Beijing Olympics are unlikely to live up to the Games’ stated ideals of being the best example of humanity.

Remember that the Beijing Winter Olympics were awarded to China in 2015, a year after the 2014 Winter Olympics. Of course, that event took place in Russia, another authoritarian country that despises humanity. rights and at the Olympics it hosted, committed one of the most tortuous and widespread doping schemes in sports history.

Remember, the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics gave China a shadow of international legitimacy as it violently quelled dissent in Tibet.

Do we need to go back to the 1936 Olympics, hosted by Hitler’s Berlin, to show that the Games are not afraid to hand one of the greatest sporting platforms to evil dictators?

Some who said that the IOC should move the Beijing Games to another venue, even briefly, have been met with calls for a boycott of the athletes or diplomacy.

Instead of those protests, the next steps should come from the most impactful entities: the sponsors of the Olympics.

This summer, executives representing a number of US-based and pro-Olympic corporations appeared before the Congressional Executive Committee on China and were asked to voice their opinions. their about Beijing 2022.

These companies have come out publicly for justice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and months of self-examination about the race in America. But with the rare exception, when pressed by legislators on an issue far from American shores in a country with a tantalizing clientele, their brave stance on justice falls to the ground. smoke.

When asked if the upcoming Games should be postponed or postponed, a consensus emerged between them: Hold mom and wash hands with real responsibility.

“We don’t make decisions about these venues, as if the world’s powerful multinationals lacked influence,” said Paul Lalli, Coca-Cola’s global vice president of human rights. . “We support and follow athletes wherever they compete.”

Perhaps companies should take a cue from something Egan told me about the political neutrality of the Olympic movement. “When you see something isn’t right, you shouldn’t sit there and do nothing.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/08/sports/olympics/diplomatic-boycott-2022-winter-olympics.html Diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics is not enough

Olly Dawes

24ssports is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@24ssports.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button