Ethical faults in U.S. approach to the Beijing Winter Olympics

Since 1924, the first Olympic Winter Games have carried on the legacy of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which embraces the idea of “building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”. Now as an integral part of the work of the organization, its strategic roadmap further aims to turn challenges into opportunities and then plays the role of sport as an important enabler to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Echoing this spirit, Beijing will hold the 24th Olympic Winter and Paralympic Games in 2022. Accordingly, President of IOC Thomas Bach recently applauded the preparations for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winters “go very, very well” and he is confident of the success of the quadrennial Games.

As we know it, the Olympic Games are the world’s only truly global, multi-sport, celebratory athletics competition. After one-century vicissitudes, the Olympics, either the Summer or Winter Games”, are where the world comes “to compete, feel inspired, and be together.”

However, such a peace-oriented games are under a frequent politicalized attack led by the United States and some of its allies which are pretentious of raising the issues on human rights and democracy in an attempt to boycott the Beijing Olympic Winter Games on February 4, 2022. Actually in the spring of 2008, the human rights groups funded by the Western politicians made efforts to shadow the Summer Olympic touch relays as it made its way around the globe to the final stop in Beijing. Prior to this, the United States and its allies had also boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, though due to the acceptable reasons. Yet in a final analysis, indiscriminating boycotting the Olympic Games are the potential threat to the justice and the welfares of the international community because “these so-called diplomatic boycotts are crazy ideas and actions while the Beijing 2020 Winter Olympics are approaching”, said Erik Solheim who was former UN Under-Secretary-General. He made it clear that in terms of diplomacy, only through communication and dialogue can we move forward. In effect, China is using the Olympics as a real showcase in green practices, which will inspire future Olympic Games. Given this, the peoples of the world should be united together to defy the U.S. hegemony, its hypocrisy and its hysteria.

To understand the reasons why the United States has acted irresponsibly to boycott the Beijing Olympic Winter Games in defiance of public interests of the world, this article argues for the necessary explorations into their political motivations as follows.

Firstly, it is a purely political farce since either the U.S. boycott of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games or the world convention for democracy are designed to serve only the U.S. bi-partisan designs rather than the human rights and the peoples’ needs, let alone the world peace and development. This is due to the fact that the United States has perceived China as a strategic rivalry over the past years, and then some politicians in the West have tried to seize the opportunity to carry out a concerted smear campaign against China, accusing the country of the “human rights abuses,” appealing for a “diplomatic boycott” and pressuring athletes to stage demonstrations at the Olympic venues. In short, those political hysterics in the U.S. and other countries are hijacking the Winter Olympics for their own ends. Put it bluntly, the Western politicians who have insisted on boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics do not care about the lives and livelihoods of Chinese people at all; rather they are only preoccupied with demonizing China and sabotaging the Beijing efforts serving their Cold War mentality which has driven them to pursue the so-called victory without fight, like the case of the former Soviet Union.

Secondly, the U.S. wants to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics obviously owing to a geopolitical design to contain the rise of China. As U.S. defense analysts argued that an arms race would eventually be won by China because it is on its way to being richer and stronger than America. Therefore, the most convenient way to prevail over China is to destabilize its normal development and set the country’s positioning in the world back a few decades. But that’s just part of a larger goal. The broader and final goal to do this primarily because the Western politicians have recognized that Asia where China is one of the leading players will soon be the center of global economic power center. Since Washington has no confidence in a new competition with Beijing which has been perceived “the scenario where nothing will stop that happening”, the United States and its core allies such as the UK and Australia are considering a “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Yet, this geopolitical design will be also doomed to failure.

For example, although India has moved closer toward the United States in terms of geopolitics, it also voiced its support for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games during the high-level meeting between Russia, India and China (RIC) recently. Apart from the Beijing Winter Olympics, cooperation between RIC will contribute not only to their own growth but also to global peace, security, stability and development. It can be said that India’s decision to support the Beijing Winter Olympics highlights that New Delhi retains its strong diplomatic and strategic autonomy unlike other Asian countries like Japan or Australia.

Third, this is a public diplomatic coup for the U.S. to blacken China’s image globally. In fact, China is committed to presenting a “streamlined, safe and splendid” Winter Olympic Games in 2022, including minimizing risks and protecting international athletes. In addition, China made the hard decision to forgo a big ceremony and refrain from inviting international spectators on a large scale. Despite all these reasonable and responsible efforts made by China, the Western media is playing a shameful role in their long series of clearly irresponsible moves to accuse or paint China as an “aggressive and assertive power” which aims to coerce the concessions from Taiwan. Similarly the media is pushing exaggerations and misinformation about the “death of Hong Kong”, the “genocide of Xinjiang” and “the imminent invasion of Australia” coveted by China. In light of this reasoning, the Biden administration which has set to hold its “Summit for Democracy” in December 2021 can be seen as a typically American hypocrisy.

In fact, the U.S. media and foreign policy establishment have worked on how to promote a negative image of China to Americans and its allies around the world. To that end, anti-China propaganda has continually served as the basis for dangerous U.S. policies that have yet to be rolled back under the Biden administration. In a long run, the attempt by the Biden administration to rebuild its global hegemony at the cost of the world peace and development can only be regarded with disdain by people who have sincerely aspired for peace, equality and harmonious development globally. As IOC stated formally that although the presence of government officials and diplomats is a purely political decision for each government, which the IOC in its political neutrality fully respects. Yet, it is equally necessary to be aware that the Olympic Games and the participation of the athletes are beyond politics, and we welcome this.

In brief, China has no intention to aim at the United States and its allies in either geopolitical game or Olympic Games. What China wants is a peaceful move forward towards its deserved place in the world theatre. Accordingly, China opens its arms to welcome the peoples and athletes all over the world to the Beijing Winter Olympics strictly following the IOC principle of “building a peaceful and better world through sport and Olympic ideal”. To that end, China officially presents its vision of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 to ensure the Olympic spirit, that is, “To ignite the flame of hope for humanity, and to embrace a brighter future.”

Paul Wang
Paul Wang
Wang Li is Professor of International Relations and Diplomacy at the School of International and Public Affairs, Jilin University China.