China: Boycotting Olympics over Genocide Is ‘Selfish’

Activists rally in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, California on November 3, 2021, calling for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics due to concerns over China's human rights record. - Activists lobbied Olympic broadcasters, including NBC, BBC, CBC and Sky to "immediately cancel broadcasting deals" …
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty

China’s state-run Global Times on Wednesday railed against the worldwide movement to boycott the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics over China’s human rights abuses, denouncing the effort as “selfish” and “ultimately harmful.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) paper never really got around to explaining how a boycott that would cost athletes, corporate sponsors, and media companies billions of dollars could be “selfish.” Instead, the editorial zeroed in on the “diplomatic boycott” concept, which is actually a watered-down compromise measure that would have high-level officials from free nations refuse to attend the Beijing Games in person.

This wouldn’t really be a “boycott” at all, since the Olympics would proceed on schedule and huge sums of money would change hands as planned. It is more like a way for politicians to get on the record as expressing their disapproval for China’s dismal human rights record without actually doing anything that counts – the mildest of geopolitical slaps on the wrist.

The Global Times nevertheless went berserk on Wednesday and accused diplomatic boycott proponents of using the Olympics to score cheap political points. The editorial disingenuously mixed in quotes from people objecting to real boycotts that would cancel the Olympics entirely, such as International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

Activists including members of the local Hong Kong, Tibetan and Uyghur communities hold up banners and placards in Melbourne on June 23, 2021, calling on the Australian government to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over China’s human rights record. (WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty)

“Anybody who is thinking about a boycott should learn this lesson from history. A sports boycott serves nothing. It’s only hurting the athletes, and it’s hurting the population of the country because they are losing the joy to share, the pride, the success with their Olympic team,” Bach said in a July 2020 interview approvingly quoted by the Global Times.

Bach was referring to the U.S.-led 1980 boycott of the Moscow Olympics and Russia’s retaliatory boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Games, which involved nations refusing to participate in the Olympics and keeping their athletes home. 

Bach, a fencing gold medalist in the 1976 Montreal Games, mourned the lost opportunities for athletes resulting from these actions and expressed his deep belief that the Olympics should “unify the entire world in a peaceful competition, without any discrimination, be it racial, be it social, be it cultural, be it political.”

The “diplomatic boycott” contemplated by the Biden administration, on the other hand, would not cancel the Games or prevent any athletes from participating – by its express design, the measure would only require top U.S. government officials to avoid attending the Games in person.

Critics in the Western world dislike the diplomatic boycott concept precisely because it would be “meaningless” and “hollow,” as World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said last week of similar proposals floated by the British government.

A Tibetan activist holds a placard and a Tibetan flag during a protest against Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in front of the Olympics Museum in Lausanne on June 23, 2021 as some 200 participants took part to the protest. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

A Tibetan activist holds a placard and a Tibetan flag during a protest against Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in front of the Olympics Museum in Lausanne on June 23, 2021 as some 200 participants took part to the protest. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Contrary to IOC President Bach’s optimistic belief in the humanizing and liberalizing power of the Games, there is absolutely zero evidence from the past half-century that any sort of cultural or economic “engagement” has liberalized the Chinese regime in the slightest. On the contrary, the regime has only grown more brutal and oppressive as it got rich from globalism and gained economic leverage over the Western world.

Case in point: on Thursday, the Washington Post reported China is pressuring American companies to push back against the boycott movement – and demanding those companies openly embrace key elements of the Communist geopolitical agenda, such as endorsing China’s claims to Taiwan, accepting its crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong, and giving the Communist Party free rein to oppress the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang province in the name of “national security.”

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