A growing number of Western lawmakers and human rights groups are calling for a boycott of the next Winter Olympics, set to take place in Beijing in February 2022.
The calls for a boycott have come in response to burgeoning evidence of human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, a remote autonomous region in northwestern China. Human rights experts say that at least one million Muslims are being detained in hundreds of internment camps, where they are subject to torture, mass rapes, forced labor and sterilizations.
Anger is also simmering over China’s political repression in Hong Kong, Tibet and Inner Mongolia; its increased intimidation of Taiwan; its threats to its other neighbors; as well as its continued lack of transparency over the origins of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in the deaths of more than three million people around the world, according Johns Hopkins University.
Boycott options include: 1) moving the Winter Olympics to another country; 2) an athletic boycott — prohibiting athletes from participating in the Games; 3) a diplomatic boycott — barring senior political representatives from travelling to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony; 4) an economic boycott — pressuring multinational corporations to cancel multi-million dollar Olympic sponsorship deals; or 5) a media boycott — limiting television coverage of the Games, thus depriving China of an important propaganda tool in the West.
Regardless of what transpires, China’s human rights record is sure to be the focus of increased scrutiny during the months leading up to the Games.