Most countries won’t impose diplomatic boycott on Winter Olympics: IOC
- The US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand imposed a diplomatic boycott on Beijing Winter Olympics
- These countries accused China of human rights violations
- IOC president Thomas Bach said around 80 countries will participate in the Winter Olympics in 2022
A majority of governments from the 90 countries taking part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have decided not to join a diplomatic boycott of the Games, scheduled for February 4 start, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.
The United States has announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics citing human rights violations in China. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand have also followed the footsteps of the Joe Biden-led US government in imposing a diplomatic boycott of the Games.
China, in response to the boycott, said the US-led boycott was trying to politically manipulate Games. But France refused to join the bloc in boycotting the Winter Games. France, in fact, said countries should be careful in mingling sports with politics. It must be noted that France is the host of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
"There are countries like the United States, UK and Australia who took that decision," Bach told German broadcaster ZDF late on Tuesday.
"Several other countries, and not only several, if we say there will be 90 National Olympic Committees (NOC) present at the Games, there are most likely more than 70 or even more than 80 NOCs whose governments have not made such statements."
"But they all have one thing in common and that is they support their Olympic teams ... so that their athletes can live their Olympic dreams," Bach said.
Rights groups accused China of human rights violations
Human rights groups have long criticised the IOC for awarding the Winter Games to China for a second time for reportedly torturing Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.
Last week, Tibetan students chained themselves to the Olympic rings outside the IOC's Swiss headquarters in Lausanne, calling for an international Games boycott. Similar protests took place during the Beijing Games torch-lighting ceremony in Greece's ancient Olympia and Athens in October.
"What happened in between those years politically is not in our sphere of influence," said Bach, a German lawyer who won gold in fencing at the 1976 Olympics.
"You cannot blame the IOC and make it responsible for something a generation or two of politicians did not succeed in."
"We are responsible for the Olympic Games," Bach said. "Expectations that the Games can change the political system of a country are exaggerated."