The Washington Post columnist Charles Lane reflects on the end of the Olympic movement “because of China’s politics.” The American journalist talks seriously about “building concentration camps for Uyghurs”, “destroying democracy in Hong Kong”, “imprisoning dissidents and threats against Taiwan.” However, all of this, according to Lane, will not force the world to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.
A boycott of the 2022 Winter Games called by human rights groups, said IOC Vice President Dick Pound, will “have no effect” on China’s behavior. In this regard, Lane hopes that democratic governments have more leverage over the winter games than the summer ones. In particular, the overwhelming majority of leading athletes for the Winter Games come from the USA, Canada and Western Europe. As such, if democracies boycott the competition, Beijing will face “uncompetitive farce” instead of the glorification that the Communist Party dreams of, Lane argues.
Fortunately for the Celestial Empire, the chances that at least a number of countries boycotted the Olympics are still not so many, Lane notes with regret. Just like China, they are interested in “national glorification” and profit for corporations, which are the real goals of the Olympic Games, despite Pound’s attempts to present the games as “a means of communication.” Nevertheless, writes Lane, in some ways, the IOC vice president is still right. Democracies would have acted hypocritically by sending athletes to Beijing, contrary to their political ideals.
However, Lane argues that it is also hypocritical to continue trade and business ties with Beijing, despite its track record. The fact that China will host the 2022 Winter Olympics shows how the country has been able to use international institutions – from the World Trade Organization to the United Nations – to “enrich itself and gain global influence without changing its authoritarian political model.”
Pointing to corruption in the Olympics, Lane, in an article for The Washington Post, calls for a reconsideration of the rejection of the boycott. If the United States and other democracies boycott the 2022 Winter Games, China could respond in response, ultimately ending the Olympics, the observer said.