China: Biden ‘Diplomatic Boycott’ of Olympics Impossible Because U.S. Diplomats Not Invited

Activists including members of the local Hong Kong, Tibetan and Uyghur communities hold up
WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

China’s state-run Global Times newspaper mocked the possibility of a “diplomatic boycott” of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics by President Joe Biden on Monday, claiming Biden can’t withdraw his political representatives from the event because they are not invited.

A “diplomatic boycott” of the Olympics, a sports competition, is not a boycott. Rather, it allows athletes to compete with no restrictions but limits the political representation of the country engaging in the boycott. The Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly noted in propaganda columns that a lack of politicians at a sporting event does not in any way inhibit the event’s host from putting on the show.

Human rights activists have repeatedly called for a real boycott of the Beijing Olympics to condemn the Chinese Communist Party’s many, ongoing human rights atrocities, most prominently the genocide of the Uyghur ethnic people in East Turkistan. Chinese communist dictator Xi Jinping has also implemented ethnic cleansing policies nationwide in regions such as Tibet and Inner Mongolia and expanded Beijing’s violent crackdown on believers of “illegal” faiths, human rights lawyers, and anyone perceived to be a dissident.

Biden has publicly refused to entertain the possibility of a boycott of the Olympics, stating instead in early November that he was “considering” a “diplomatic boycott.” Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have also publically supported a non-boycott.

No reports at press time have suggested that Biden is considering actually boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics despite his own administration confirming that China is currently engaging in genocide.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 27: The Rev. Patrick Mahoney (L) and Subihi Setiwaldi participate in a demonstration against the 2022 Olympics in China, at Lafayette Square May 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Stanton Public Policy Center and Purple Sash Revolution staged a demonstration “in support of Uighur women and to call for the Biden Administration to boycott the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Rev. Patrick Mahoney (L) and Subihi Setiwaldi participate in a demonstration against the 2022 Olympics in China, at Lafayette Square May 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty)

The Global Times, a government publication, claimed on Monday that its government “sources” had confirmed that the Communist Party had no intention of inviting American diplomats to the Beijing Olympics, rendering a “diplomatic boycott” impossible.

“China never plans to invite US and Western politicians who hype the ‘boycott’ topic to attend the Games and experts said that their so-called boycott is nothing but self-deception,” the Global Times claimed. “[I]n accordance with the Olympic rules, for politicians to attend the Games they must be invited by their own countries’ Olympic committees first and the final decision relies on the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”

The propaganda newspaper blamed the ongoing Chinese coronavirus pandemic – which originated in central China and continues to vex the Communist Party’s poor emergency management systems – for the lack of invitations, claiming “it is not proper to invite foreign guests on a large scale,” anyway, and “people with common sense” understand this. The newspaper did not specify to what extent a lack of such an invite was the product of pandemic concerns versus outrage at calls for a diplomatic non-boycott.

The Global Times called talk of a “diplomatic” non-boycott a “smear campaign” against China, citing the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The newspaper concluded that the Olympics would be “more extraordinary without these politicians.”

The Chinese regime has not formally invited Biden or any administration officials to the event. Rumors circulated two weeks ago that dictator Xi Jinping may invite Biden personally to the Olympics during a “virtual meeting” the two held, but the invitation never came. Xi conspicuously invited fellow dictator Vladimir Putin of Russia to attend shortly thereafter.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry addressed the calls for Biden to not send politicians to Beijing on Monday and similarly dismissed the idea that the presence of American politicians would have any impact on the athletic competition.

“A successful and splendid Games relies on the concerted efforts of the big Winter Olympics family, not on the attendance of a handful of countries’ government officials,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters. “We hope certain countries can avoid overplaying their hands. Besides, according to Olympic rules, foreign dignitaries can attend the Olympic Games at the invitation of their respective national Olympic committees.”

While the Global Times claimed that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic was a “common sense” reason to ban politicians who object to genocide from the Olympics, China’s fellow state-run Xinhua News Agency fumed that the pandemic was precisely a reason to oppose “diplomatic” non-boycotts.

People wear protective masks as they walk front the logos of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics at Yanqing Ice Festival on February 26, 2021 in Beijing, China. The Festival comes at the final day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

“More than ever, the world needs solidarity in the face of crisis,” Xinhua asserted, citing the official mottoes of the Olympics and the Beijing event specifically. “With the world still grappling with the [Chinese coronavirus] pandemic, the two mottoes spoke volume for the determination and courage of people around the world to work together to overcome difficulties and pursue their dreams and hopes.”

“The so-called diplomatic boycott therefore runs counter to the trend of world development,” the news agency claimed in an opinion column.

The dismissal of the “so-called diplomatic boycott” this week is not new for Chinese state media, which has for weeks confronted the possibility of Biden not sending politicians to the Games with mockery.

“Strictly speaking, a boycott of the Olympic Games means banning all of its country’s athletes from participation,” the Global Times asserted this month. “‘Diplomatic boycott’ is a roughly man-made new concept by Western politicians, meaning no ban on athletes, but government officials would not attend.”

“Athletes are supposed to be the most crucial players in the Games, not political figures,” the outlet argued at the time, citing a Party-approved “expert” who called those suggesting diplomatic withdrawal from the Games “drama queens.”

Last week, the Global Times more simply referred to a diplomatic “boycott” as “no big deal.”

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