Are we also boycotting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics? | Cristian Unteanu

On the one hand, there is the firm position announced by the Biden Administration and explained on December 6 by Jan Psaki, the White House press secretary, who said that if it had been admitted that the Beijing event had existed, “American political representation, that would mean treating things as if nothing had happened, despite blatant human rights violations and atrocities committed by China in the Xinjiang region. We just can’t do that Team USA enjoys our full support. We will support them 100% while encouraging them from home “. As a result, officials in Australia, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom have announced that there is already a political decision to support the US position. Belgium, Lithuania have also announced the same measure, and the German Foreign Minister will not go to Beijing either. In October, the European Parliament voted in favor of a boycott in a non-binding resolution.

On the other hand, Austria has distanced itself from the American position, and President Macron is demanding, just as the Germans and Luxembourgers suggest, that there be a common European position because, he said, “we have to be clear, we say “we are boycotting completely and we are not sending athletes”, or we are saying “we are trying to have a useful action at the international level”“, Because it would be a purely diplomatic boycott “A small and symbolic measure”. On the other hand, Jean-Michel Blanquier, Minister of Education and Sports, announced that France would not support the diplomatic boycott and would send to Beijing Roxana Mărăcineanu, Minister Delegate for Sports, and Sophie Cuzel, Secretary of State for the problems of people with disabilities: “Sport is a world in itself that must be protected as much as possible from political interference. Otherwise, things can change in any direction and so we will destroy all competitions”. We should be interested, at least in principle, in the continuation of the message of the French minister who said that “We must condemn human rights violations in China because they do exist. But, because it is about sports competitions, let’s find the appropriate and adapted answer … “. And his colleague Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Foreign Minister, added in a press conference with his German counterpart: “We are in favor of adopting a common position, the stakes of which we will weigh at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers, or at the next one, but this issue will have to be considered by us as Europeans.“- very interesting remark of the one who now leads the meetings attended by his colleagues from the Member States, France taking over the presidency of the EU Council from today.

In principle, I think it would be normal to announce that our country has its own position, with the necessary arguments, not only following a direction imposed by one of the strategic partners, even if our hopes for medals at the Winter Olympics are low and, from this it would be inferred that we have nothing to worry about.

This is not the case because, more and more visibly, this issue is subsumed by the geo-strategic conflict between the US and its allies over a China that is perceived as an economically and militarily feared competitor. Every pro or con attitude, put in this context, has an extremely relevant political dimension and can give the real dimension of the value of a real power alliance or, on the contrary, of what is the habit of transient alliances of conjunctural interests.

And it’s really hard to make a decision.

If we stick only strictly to the world of sports and its rules of operation internationally

unanimously accepted, then let’s see what his important representatives, the leaders of the big international federations, have to say. In this context, Sebastian Coe (photo), president of the International Athletics Federation, stated that: “I’m not indifferent or just talk politely about human rights, I take them very seriously … but we should be realistic: when we participate in sporting events anywhere in the world we will encounter cultural, political, social obstacles … If we think better, the boycott is a historical illiteracy and a lack of cultural honesty. Honestly, a political boycott is meaningless. In a world where I truly believe that discussions and relationships are important, isolationism is all too often successful. ”


There is still time for moves and decisions in one direction or another, and pressure is mounting after the vague and threatening announcement by Chinese authorities that there will be retaliation against countries that choose to support the boycott. Amnesty International has stepped up its efforts to urge politicians around the world not to take credibility with the Chinese authorities and to strongly oppose participation in what they call the “Olympic Games of Genocide.”

Of course, there is still time, but that does not mean that things will be simpler in the future, because that decision, passed in the political portable, will certainly determine related movements that will influence other negotiations, now either frozen or much postponed. the promised calendar. Among them, an issue that may be of some interest to us, namely the EU-China Free Trade Agreement, which is very significant if we consider that China is the EU’s second largest trading partner.

This is the context in which we are waiting, at this strange and uncertain beginning of 2022, to see if, at least in the EU, at least on this issue, it will be possible to reach a common position solution.

But can there be a common European position on any issue, especially when the decision has to be implemented, inevitably bringing the necessary retaliation? Who knows, maybe we’ll see the miracle happen. But until others decide what to do, do we have our own opinion? What would we like? Should we diplomatically boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics or send government representation at the head of the Romanian delegation?

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