Canada’s motion boycotting Beijing Winter Olympics is sinister
Published: Feb 25, 2021 08:41 PM

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

With the one-year countdown to the Winter Olympics in Beijing underway, some anti-China forces cannot pass up opportunity to use the high-profile sports event to vilify China, including Canada, the US and the UK. 

The vilification will barely affect the highly-expected global gala event, and if any possible negative result comes of their move, it is the winter sports sector of these countries which will bear the losses.

Under the guise of a completely fabricated human right issue in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, certain Western countries have been targeting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, with Canada's House of Commons passing a motion attacking Xinjiang, and even calling for a relocation of the Olympics from Beijing, for which the Trudeau government has yet to endorse. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest comments poured cold water on Canada, saying that the British government is "not normally in favor of sporting boycotts", adding it has been a "long-standing" position of the UK.

Considered the world's foremost sports competition, the eye-catching Olympic Games offer a "great" opportunity for those anti-China forces to get on the front foot to draw attention and push their own political agenda. Though it is not the first time for Olympics being boycott against, there actually has long been a trend of the sporting event disengaging with politics or ideology.

The Olympic Games is a sporting feast for all mankind, with a motto of "faster, higher and stronger". Representing spirit of being aspiring and optimistic, it encourages people to challenge themselves and achieve breakthroughs. Besides the trend of decoupling itself from politics, the sporting event has also generating massive benefits to both society and economy.

Multinationals choose to sponsor the events to raise popularity and enhance reputation, while a raft of sports-related industries can take the chance to boost revenue, from sport equipment manufacturing to retailing, as well as related service sectors, especially when sports and tourism industries have bared the brunt of the once-in-a-century COVID-19 pandemic.

The global sports market recorded a value of about $388.3 billion in 2020, dropping from $458.8 billion in 2019 mainly due to lockdowns and social distancing norms imposed by countries amid the pandemic, according to an industrial analysis by the Business Research Company.

As for the winter sports industries, North American countries and many European countries are advanced players in the world. Snow sports tourism contributes $20 billion to the US economy each year, and in total participation in skiing and snowmobiling in 2015-16 supported over 191,000 jobs and generated $6.9 billion in revenues, according to a report by the University of New Hampshire in 2018.

In Canada, the market size of ski and snowboard resorts is estimated to reach $1.2 billion in 2021, and the size of spectator sports was forecasted to reach $4 billion, per data from IBISWorld.

Both the countries have advanced winter sports related industries, and a Winter Olympics can boost confidence of related sectors recovering from the fallout of the pandemic. However, if some of ideology-biased politicians try to politicize sports events to antagonize China, the related industries cannot shun the blow. 

Just like the tariff war triggered by the US which has been proved as a double-edged sword. The US Chamber of Commerce recently issued a report, saying that an annual GDP loss of $190 billion could occur to the US if 25 percent tariffs are placed on all two-way trade. During the US' promotion of its anti-China campaign, American firms have been constantly raising objections as they are the one bearing direct losses.

While the world is struggling to stifle the coronavirus, China, with effective containment and a better economic recovery, has shown its commitment to offer a global sporting feast to the world. Trying to jeopardize the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will not be accepted by people around the world and is doomed to fail.

The article was compiled based on an interview with Jiang Yiyi, a professor at the School of Leisure Sports and Tourism under the Beijing Sport University.