The Diplomat: The Case for Boycotting Beijing 2022

The mass internment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang merits a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Commenting upon Beijing’s successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, International Ski Federation President Gian Franco Kasper quipped to a Swiss newspaper this past February that “everything is easier in dictatorships.”

Four years ago, China narrowly beat out Kazakhstan’s competing bid, and Beijing is now poised to become the first city in the world to have hosted both summer and winter Olympic Games.

But rather than allowing China to bask in Olympic fanfare, the internment of as many as 1 million ethnic Uyghurs in the western Xinjiang province has laid the groundwork for a boycott by elected leaders and athletes from the United States, and by other delegations.

If the Chinese capital was a hopeful débutante in the lead-up to its 2008 summer event, holding its head high despite complaints of media censorship, displaced Beijing residents, underage gymnasts, and air pollution, the 2022 event is likely to be billed as the glittering coronation of an ascendant and increasingly assertive China.

In 2014, on the basis of purchasing power parity, China regained its title as the world’s leading economy, a superlative it last held in 1890, and by 2016 it overtook the United States as the world’s largest manufacturer.

But in 2016, Chinese authorities commenced the forcible detention of thousands of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities, including entire families, into so-called “political education” centers, the beginnings of an authoritarian indoctrination campaign aimed at the repression of Uyghur language, identity, and religious expression.


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