Forces inciting a boycott of the Winter Olympics will never succeed: Global Times editorial
Published: Feb 07, 2021 10:02 PM

Sports fans, volunteers and the public gather in front of the one-year countdown board of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games and shout "2022, here we come" in co-host city Zhangjiakou, North China's Hebei Province. The Winter Games organizer unveiled the designs of the Olympic torches on Thursday, just one year to go before the Games start. Photo: VCG

After a group of US senators introduced on Wednesday a resolution to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to remove the 2022 Winter Olympics from China, two British political figures on Saturday called for British athletes to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. As the one-year countdown to the Winter Olympics was marked, the disruption by the US and British political figures calling for a boycott of the Games has reached a small climax.

We are convinced, however, that such extreme claims, which are grossly contrary to the Olympic spirit, will never be widely echoed. A few activist groups and Western politicians have always tried to make a fuss about their presence ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics. None of the IOC, national athletes, or people at large will be willing to be held hostage by this small group of forces. Their plot will never succeed.

At the moment, no government has ever presented its willingness to implement policies boycotting the Winter Olympics, and no parliament has a force strong enough to push through bills related to such resolution. A group of 180 so-called human rights groups that have recently issued an open letter demanding a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics are primarily from associations in support of "Xinjiang independence," "Tibet independence" and Hong Kong violent rioters. They are just a band of disordered people.

First, the international community has learned a hard lesson from previous boycotting of the Olympic Games for political reasons. During the Cold War, the US led a boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, and the Soviet Union led its allies to boycott the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The effect of those two back-and-forward boycotts gravely damaged the Olympic spirit, deprived many athletes of valuable opportunities to compete, and further intensified the division and the confrontation across the world. Their subsequent reviews were almost negative.

Since then, it has been firmly accepted that politics is politics and sport is sport, and that the two should be separated in the global sporting community and in the international community at large. Although there were still extremist groups and figures looking for trouble before the Seoul and Beijing Olympic Games, only small waves were incurred. 

Now if a country or group of countries boycotts the Olympic Games for political reasons, there will be strong opposition from the IOC and athletes from relevant countries. Although the previous US administration seemed to have prepared a new cold war with China, it was more like an empty show and it was far from a real trend. A boycott by the US and the UK would be seen as a farce even in their own countries, with huge resistance and associated uncertainty.

It is important to note that the so-called China's genocide in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and its suppression of human rights in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are simply extreme accusations made by a few Western countries, and even by some forces within those countries. They are not echoed and responded to by the vast majority of the developing countries, let alone supported by authoritative international organizations such as the United Nations. It is wishful thinking on the part of those powers to mobilize the international community to divide the Olympic Games, and thus the world, to start a new cold war.

China is a sporting and economic power with growing political influence. If any country is encouraged by extremist forces to take concrete actions to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics, China will definitely retaliate fiercely. China certainly has the resources and means to do that.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted sporting events all around the world. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed for a year to be held in July 2021, but it is still uncertain whether it will kick off as scheduled. If the Tokyo Games were finally forced to be canceled, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games will become a defensive war of the Olympics against the pandemic. As mass vaccination is under way, and China has a strong capability of epidemic prevention and control, the prospect of the Beijing Winter Games being held as scheduled is worth looking forward to. 

This is the real challenge to the Beijing Winter Games. The incitements to boycott the Beijing Winter Games are an evil trend and the world should despise them. Humanity is faced with so many global puzzles. United, we stand, and can deal with the challenges effectively. The handful of extreme forces that aim to divide the Olympics are the common enemies of all humanity. Standing out now to wreak havoc, they intend to enrich their selfish pursuits by harming the common interests of all humanity.