US hijacks Olympics, turns it into ‘small clique’ diplomatic tool ahead of democracy summit
Officials not invited, a joke and shame to Olympics
Published: Dec 08, 2021 12:13 AM
Beijing Winter Olympics

Beijing Winter Olympics

China has lodged solemn representations and expressed strong opposition to the US' "diplomatic boycott" of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, and will take firm countermeasures, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, while Chinese and foreign experts said the US is making itself a joke not only by announcing a boycott of the Games that had not invited US politicians and also by citing lies of "genocide" against China as an excuse to politicize the Olympics in an attempt to create momentum for its upcoming democracy summit.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration will not send any diplomat or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic games, citing "genocide" and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and "other human rights abuses." 

The US has been fabricating the biggest lie of the century about so-called "genocide" in China's Xinjiang region, which has been refuted by facts. Based on ideological biases and lies, the US is trying to disturb the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The US practice gravely violates the principle of political neutrality enshrined in the Olympic Charter, runs counter to the Olympic motto of "together" and stands on the opposite side of global athletes and sports fans, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, told a press conference on Tuesday. 

Zhao noted that the Winter Olympics is not the platform for posturing and manipulation. According to Olympic rules, officials are invited by their?respective National Olympic Committee to attend the Olympic Games. Whether the US officials will come to the Beijing Winter Olympics and root for their own athletes is the US' own business.

Despite not even being invited, the US side linked its officials' attendance with the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang, going down the wrong path further by distorting facts while cheating themselves as well as others. The US political agenda wins no supports and is doomed to fail, Zhao said. 

US President Joe Biden and some politicians were hyping a boycott of the Beijing Games. However, the Global Times learned previously from sources that as the host country, China never planned to invite US and Western politicians who hype the "boycott" topic. 

No one cares whether US politicians will come or not and it has no impact on the success of the Beijing Games, Liu Pengyu, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the US, tweeted on Tuesday. 

The White House announcement on Monday was also mocked in the US and on Twitter. Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN, tweeted that "A diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics is a joke. China doesn't care if Biden and team show up. They want our athletes."

Ben Norton, an assistant editor of the US news website the Grayzone tweeted that "The Biden admin is acting like its diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing is a brave move for 'human rights,' but China openly said for weeks that the US was not even invited. This is the political version of a petulant child shouting, 'Well, I didn't wanna go anyway!'" 

Adnan Akfirat, president of the Turkish-Chinese Business Development and Friendship Association, who openly opposed the US politicizing the Olympics, described the US decision  as "a futile effort" and it is also ridiculous to say that those who haven't already been invited won't attend.

There is a proverb in Turkish. "The rabbit is offended by the mountain!" Akfirat told the Global Times. 

In a statement on the US boycott on Monday, the International Olympic Committee said that the presence of government officials and diplomats is a purely political decision for each government, which the IOC in its political neutrality fully respects. At the same time, this announcement also makes clear that the Olympic Games and the participation of the athletes are beyond politics, and we welcome this.

Low-cost try

Since there is no invitation for US politicians to attend the Beijing Games, why it is still keen on hyping the topic? Analysts from China and overseas said that US attempts to use the "cheap shot" to humiliate China, but it only exposes its own malicious moves of politicizing the Olympic spirit. 

Tom Fowdy, a British political and international relations analyst, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the Biden administration's announcement is "fueled by obvious opportunism. It is adecision which allows them to whip up anti-China sentiment, but comes with very little sacrifice or cost." 

The US is attempting to smear China in a low-cost way since US politicians have realized that if clashes or confrontations are intensified or lead to the military field, the risk may be too great to bear. They chose to "boycott" the Beijing Olympics - a diplomatic stunt to showcase the US presence and "leading role" in values, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

However, such a move is absurd. The unilateral boycott without an invitation in advance is a very cheap political gesture. It is as ridiculous as I say that I will boycott going to Mars," Lü said. 

Psaki told the Monday press conference that US athletes will be participating in the Beijing Games and they will be "rooting for the athletes from home."

The US wants to display its "humanity" by saying that athletes would come to the Beijing Games, but it is the US that initiated the hype of a boycott of the Games based on completely fake "genocide" allegations, putting numerous athletes' careers at risk, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times. 

The US' tactic of politicizing the Olympics also hit a new low as it chose to announce the boycott a few days before the so-called democracy summit, Li said, noting that the boycott is like a signal for the US to mobilize as many forces as possible to smear China, to pressure other countries to choose sides and to verify its global influence. 

The US is scheduled to hold the Democracy Summit on Thursday and Friday this week, which has been criticized by observers for bringing new confrontations and dividing the world by ideology. 

The Democracy Summit, which Biden plans to use as the symbol of the so-called "US is back," has "illogical and pathetic" criteria to divide democratic and non-democratic countries. "If democracy is the rule of the people for the people, the most anti-democratic country is the US," said Akfirat. 

Graham Perry, a British solicitor and international arbitrator, told the Global Times that the issue of the US' diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympic has to be seen within the bigger issue of the rise of China and the relative decline of the US.

The West likes to portray China as a vicious, oppressive 'dictatorship' but facts show the opposite. For example, China has lifted 800 million people out of poverty and protected more people from COVID-19. So the West "invents" genocide allegations in Xinjiang to damage China, and as China becomes more successful, more lies would be told about China, Perry told the Global Times. 

Who would follow?

While Chinese and foreign experts criticize the US for politicizing the Olympics and using the sports event to pressure other countries, they noted that the majority of countries will keep away from such a political move and not follow the US. 

When responding to whether the US is trying to get other allies to join the US in the "diplomatic boycott," Psaki told the Monday press conference that "we have informed them of our decision, and obviously we will leave it to them to make their own decisions."

As of press time on Tuesday, no country has announced it would follow the US in boycotting the games. After the US' announcement, media in Canada and Australia reported that their politicians urged their governments to make a similar decision. 

Maybe two or three countries will follow the US but no more, Lü said, noting that following the US in making such a decision should take long-term consequences into consideration especially if it will make a difference in the long run, especially for how the Chinese people feel about those countries. 

New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said on Tuesday that New Zealand will not be sending diplomatic representatives at a ministerial level to the Beijing Winter Olympics, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason, and added that the decision was made in October. 

Wang Dazhao, a Beijing-based senior sports commentator, told the Global Times that the US "diplomatic boycott" of the Beijing Games has nothing to do with sports but all about politics. The US now is carrying on the Cold War mentality to make another one, which is unpopular since the world has changed.

Wang said the US boycott has no impact on the Beijing Games but showed to the world how it intends to destroy a country's efforts to host a sports event. "The US is taking the initiative to bring destruction and in the future, which country would still be willing to host the Games since their efforts could be easily ruined by politics?"