Few world leaders at Beijing Olympics
February 3, 2022 - A diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics over China’s human rights record and coronavirus concerns have reduced the number of world leaders attending the Games.
India is the latest nation to pull out of Friday’s Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony after one of the torchbearers reportedly chosen by Chinese authorities stoked New Delhi’s anger.
The move followed reports that a Chinese military commander involved in deadly clashes with Indian border forces in 2020 is one of the torchbearers relaying the Olympics flame to Beijing.
The clash with Chinese forces killed at least 20 Indian soldiers in June 2020 in the disputed Himalayan border area of Ladakh.
In the past four years, Beijing has eliminated democratic rights and freedoms in Hong Kong and threatened to invade Taiwan. China has punished ethnic minorities in Tibet and reportedly detained as many as a million Uyghurs and other Muslims in its crackdown in Xinjiang. The Chinese Communist Party denies these accusations, but multiple countries, including the U.S., have accused the government of genocide.
In announcing the United States’ diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games, White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently cited China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.” Leaders of 18 nations are now taking part in the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
“For the Chinese, obviously, they’re not happy,” says Lisa Neirotti, a professor of sport management at George Washington University. “They’d rather have no boycott, whether it’s diplomatic or not. But in the end it’s not really going to harm their Olympic Games.”