The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is just over a month away and the calls to boycott the games have started to gather steam. It all started with the United States of America's (USA) decision to snub the Games, but now multiple countries are mulling to take the same route.
Here is all we know so far regarding the boycott of the Winter Games, starting from 4th February 2022.
United States of America
The USA became the first country to officially announce a 'diplomatic boycott' of the 2022 Winter Olympics on Tuesday. The White House announced that neither President Joe Biden nor any other American diplomat will visit the East Asian country for the Games, citing China's human rights atrocities.
Just hours after the announcement from the USA, Australia too joined the party with the country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing their decision to boycott the games diplomatically. The PM validated his statement, terming the decision to be 'in the national interest of Australia'. This conclusion comes on the back of China's critical stance on Australia's decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
The European Union back in July 2021 passed a resolution for the boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The Union then stated that China will have to significantly improve the human rights situation in the country. This resolution, though, is 'nonbinding' meaning that countries associated with European Union can still decide for themselves whether they want to participate in a boycott or not.
Just after the USA announced its decision to boycott, Italy reiterated that it remains committed to the Winter Olympics. If the Italian stance fluctuates it could be one of the bigger blows to China, considering that the European nation is expected to host the 2026 games and as per tradition the Italian nation has to be present to take over the baton from China at the end of the Games.
Considering the fact that France will host the 2024 Summer Olympics, the country is bound by protocol to attend the Winter Games in Beijing. However, after the USA's decision to boycott, the country has maintained that their President Emmanuel Macron will tackle this on a European level.
Russia is formally banned from competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics but still criticised the USA heavily on their decision to boycott the Games in Beijing. The country maintained that they believed the 'Olympics should be free of politics.'
Though there have been calls to boycott the Winter Games in India at the grassroots level, the authorities have decided to side with China. The country's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had backed the neighbouring country during a virtual meeting with his counterparts from Russia and China towards the end of November.
A lot of the other countries, including the likes of Canada, New Zealand and Japan remain undecided on their future regarding the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.