Should the U.S. boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China?
12 April 2021
As if there aren’t enough sources of Sino-U.S. friction already, an emerging new irritant may soon outpace the rest: the growing calls for a boycott of Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics.
The games are still 10 months away — a period that may feel even longer given the uncertainty surrounding the current phase of the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s not too early for the event to turn into a flash point. Critics of China’s ruling Communist Party — including a coalition of more than 180 human rights organizations — argue that the regime’s record of human rights abuses and geopolitical malfeasance ought to deprive it of the right to burnish its image with a spectacle like the Olympics.
“Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Olympics in 2015, the same year it cracked down on lawyers and activists across China,” Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao wrote earlier this year. “Since then, it has detained journalists; harassed and attacked activists and dissidents even outside China’s borders; shut down nongovernmental organizations; demolished Christian churches, Tibetan temples and Muslim mosques; persecuted, sometimes to death, believers in Falun Gong; and sharply increased its control of media, the Internet, universities and publishers.”