Calls grow louder to boycott Beijing’s Olympics — and analysts warn of retaliation from China

Countries and companies outside China face rising pressure to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year, but China will not sit back idly in response, says political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.

“Western governments and firms face mounting pressure from human rights advocates and political critics of China to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics,” according to Eurasia Group analysts.

The Games are due to take place between February 4 to 20.

“China will punish countries that boycott the Games with political sanctions and commercial retaliation, but with much greater severity in the athletic boycott scenario,” they said in a report published Thursday.

“Campaigners have focused on Beijing’s targeted repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, which some Western governments have called ‘genocide,‘” the report said. “Calls to shun what activists label the ‘Genocide Games’ will grow as the opening ceremony approaches, increasing risks for governments, corporates, and investors — whether they decide to boycott or not.”

Last month, the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom and United States issued a joint statement accusing the Chinese government of inflicting an “extensive program of repression” on the Uyghur people including detention camps, forced labor and forced sterilizations.

China has repeatedly denied allegations of forced labor and other abuses in Xinjiang. The foreign ministry last month called such claims “malicious lies” designed to “smear China” and “frustrate China’s development.”

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