The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are set to take place this coming February, meaning that some countries have already begun planning out their delegations. However, things have taken an unexpected twist as in the last month, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia have all announced that they will be diplomatically boycotting the event. Notably, a diplomatic boycott’s major differentiation from a complete Olympic boycott is that in a diplomatic boycott, only government officials from the countries boycotting the games will be absent instead of all the athletes as well. Additionally, Japan has also proclaimed its intentions to not send an official government group to the Olympics, however, they have not formally stated this to be a flat-out diplomatic boycott.
Why is this happening?
The United States, the first country to announce its decision to boycott the Olympics, stated that the decision comes in response to concerns over numerous human rights violations by China. Britain, Canada, and Australia’s reasoning for the boycotting echoed similar values, with Australia’s added notes of boycotting because of China’s hostility towards their imports and vocal criticism of Australia’s move to build new nuclear synonyms.
As you can imagine, China has not responded favorably. It has denied all of the accusations made so far and has claimed that these countries are fabricating lies to make them look bad. They also stated the United States would pay for their actions and that they never wanted British or Australian government officials at the games in the first place.
The fallout with China has been mostly verbal for the United States, Britain, Canada, and Australia since their declaration to diplomatically boycott the games. However, as stated above, China has hinted at retribution, at least against the United States. Notably, both the United States and Australia are slated to host the Los Angeles 2028 and Brisbane 2032 Olympics respectively, so China’s retribution may come in the form of boycotting those games if nothing else. As for a more short-term impact of the diplomatic boycott of the games, it is evident that tensions have only continued to rise between China and the West, and with numerous powerful nations constantly at each others’ necks, who knows what’s to come for the international community?