China Is Preparing for Another Olympics in Beijing, Like It or Not
When Beijing staged the Summer Olympic Games in 2008, many argued – or at least hoped – that international attention would improve human rights in China. It wasn’t
Now, China is counting down another Olympics in Beijing, this time the Winter Games next February. And it is facing increasing calls for boycott over the violation of its rights from stripping Hogcog For democratic freedom of his promise Mass dislocation Of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
However, the world has changed since 2008. In fact, no one today believes that the conduct of the Games will reduce China’s behavior.
Subsequently, Chinese leaders promised to make concessions, at least for basic democratic freedom, to show that they would be hosts. The current leader Xi Jinping is far more confident, neither bent nor forced to compromise. And China is no longer herself A rising Capitalist power but the world’s second largest economy, head-to-competition with the United States for global influence.
Elected officials in the United States, Canada and Britain have called for their countries to withdraw from the Olympics, as did scores of human rights organizations. Others, such as Freedom House, have said that even if the games go ahead, government officials, cultural celebrities and sponsors should refuse to attend.
“Anything less will be seen as an endorsement of the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian rule and abusive rule for civil and human rights,” read one Public letter Drafted this month that calls for a boycott. It was signed by more than 180 advocacy groups worldwide, many of them focused on Tibet, Hong Kong and the Uygars.
No country has announced a boycott so far. Calls also faced resistance from the International Olympic Committee, Whose charter “Appeals to the pleasure of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental moral principles.”
China’s economic dominance with international bodies such as the Olympic Committee and big corporate backers of the Games carries more weight than ever. China has also demonstrated its willingness to use trade as a tool of geopolitical force Australia has learned By a flood of punitive measures targeting coal, alcohol and other exports.
“The Chinese government is more powerful and influential now,” said Teng Biao, a lawyer who was detained in Beijing in 2008 for criticizing the country’s preparations for those games. “They have the advantage of approving those who are critical of governance.”
Like the sponsors and broadcasters, the International Olympic Committee has a lot to lose if the Games are not attended.
“It is also clear that we want to experience the passion and excellence of the sport and the excellence of the Chinese organization with this Olympic Games,” committee chairman Thomas Bach told the state news agency Xinhua after a telephone. Call with Mr. Xi to discuss Beijing’s latest preparations in January.
Beijing was awarded the 2022 Games after several European cities dropped out In 2015, citing costs. China defeated the only other bidder left, Almaty, the principal city of Kazakhstan, another authoritarian country. The vote was 44 to 40.
Beijing, which will be the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games, is not really known for the Winter Games. China only won its first Winter Olympics gold medal in 2002, in which he was a flamboyant. Decree Olympic head Mr Bach said the country would generate 300 million snow and ice enthusiasts, which was noted brilliantly last month.
“Chinese Ice and Ice!” Mr Xi expressed happiness during his inspection of future Olympic venues, which was broadcast in a video on 4 February Year long countdown For sports.
China estimates its budget – $ 3 billion – by reusing some Reputed Sites The stadium is known as Bird’s Nest for the opening and closing ceremonies, including the 2008 Summer Games. The water cube, where swimming events were held, will feature curling.
Outdoor skiing events are to be held in two cities, Yongqing and Zhangjiakou, to the northwest of the capital, now connected to Beijing by new high-speed rail, which has reduced travel by under an hour. Never mind that the area normally receives Only two inches of snow One year; The rest will be made artificially.
China’s willingness to spend what is needed to organize the Games has made it unavoidable for the Olympic Committee. Mr Teng, a lawyer who is now a professor at New York’s Hunter College, was among those who sought to exert pressure on China in October last year, along with committee officials.
“He had no plans to bring basic human rights issues to the Chinese government,” he said. “And they won’t do it.”
The committee responded with a written statement due to an anonymous spokesperson. It added that the committee “has neither the mandate nor the ability to change the laws or the political system of a sovereign country.”
Critics of China have made many accusations of fudging the country before 2008. They cite the lack of political and religious freedom, its widespread censorship, and the prolonged suppression of Tibet, which it forcibly absorbed after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. 1949.
The rift in Beijing and Xinjiang, which came to light after Beijing was awarded the 2022 Games, has raised stakes. So China has arrested the ongoing detention of two Canadians as part of a dispute over a US extradition warrant for an executive of telecommunications giant Huawei.
The Trump administration announced in one of its last acts that China’s actions in Xinjiang Massacre amountA designation that added weight to the boycott campaign in the United States.
According to critics, China’s behavior has created a challenge for democratic countries as well as the Olympic Committee: if it is not unfit to hold more than a million people in camps, what will happen?
Some also have Comparison Nazi Germany staged the 1922 Olympic Games in 1936, stating that handing over the Games to a country on the charge of carrying out the collective sanctions of an ethnic group is morally inevitable.
“It certainly made people feel uncomfortable,” said Mandi McCown, executive director of the International Campaign for Tibet, who helped arrange public letter calling for a boycott.
“I think more effort is needed to connect it to the 1936 Olympics and how we feel now,” he said. “It is a shame that it has ever been allowed to happen.” And we are walking again at that time – this time our eyes are open. “
President Biden’s administration has indicated ambivalence about the boycott, although some of his campaign advisers said he had put an idea in a program with other countries.
White House press secretary, Jane Psyche, suggested that a boycott was not yet an option. “We are not currently talking about changing our currency or our plans related to the Beijing Olympics,” she said.
The last significant Olympic boycott was the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles; The Soviet Union and its allies stayed away from the incident in retaliation for the 1980 United States-led Moscow Olympics following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Pressure on Beijing is not unlike applying to Russia before the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Those games were not boycotted despite calls for criminalization of a discriminatory new law.Gay propaganda, “But the leaders of the world, for the most part, did not attend them.
Minky Worden, who followed China’s participation in the Olympics for Human Rights Watch for more than two decades, said a campaign against the 2022 Games could put pressure on sponsors and visitors.
“Boycott is very much a symbol, but it is not the only arrow in the quiver of the human rights community,” she said.
China, for its part, appears to be unconstrained, even disobedient.
“If any country is encouraged by extremist forces to take concrete action to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics, China will surely retaliate fiercely,” Global Times, a nationalist newspaper owned by the Communist Party, wrote this month.
China is also preparing Another olympic bid, With the cities of Chengdu and Chongqing as potential hosts for the 2032 Summer Games.
Tariq Panja contributed reporting, and Claire Fu contributed research.