The Beijing Winter Olympics, to be held in the Chinese capital city next year are a major event for the Chinese Communist Party. At a time when the global democratic community is breathing fire down China’s neck for its persecution of non-Han Chinese communities and ethnic minorities, not to mention its brutal crackdown on Hong Kong and the constant threat of invading Taiwan, for Xi Jinping – the Winter Olympics is an opportunity to humanise the CCP.
In fact, the successful conduct of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is supposed to be a major plank with which Xi Jinping seeks reselection as the Chinese Communist Party’s General Secretary next autumn, and as a consequence, becomes China’s president for an unprecedented third term.
But the democratic world is not willing to extend such favours to Xi Jinping. At least 19 major countries have decided not to sign a truce with China ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics. India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada and even Turkey are among several other nations who have refused to sign the ‘Olympic Truce’ with China, which is an ancient tradition meant to lead to a cessation of hostilities among warring sides to ensure smooth conduct of the games.
On December 2, a resolution titled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal” was adopted co-sponsored by 173 Member States at the 76th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly (GA) in New York. This resolution called for the observance of the Olympic Truce for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Beijing in 2022, from seven days before the start of the Olympic Games, on 4 February 2022, until seven days after the end of the Paralympic Games.
The resolution called on all member states to “harness the power of sport to advance the world by fostering an atmosphere of peace, development, resilience, tolerance and understanding”. By not signing the Olympic Truce – India, the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia and others have effectively signalled to China that they are least interested to participate in the Beijing Games and that even if they do, it will surely be keeping in mind the interests of athletes in mind.
The United States and Australia are already contemplating a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. A diplomatic boycott would involve not sending a delegation of officials to the Winter Olympics in February but allowing athletes to participate. When asked if Australia would impose a diplomatic boycott on the games, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, “We’re considering those matters at the moment and working through those issues.”
Each of the countries that have not signed the Olympic Truce has effectively kept the doors open for boycotting the games at any time of their choosing. Further, these countries are not bound by any document or ‘truce’ which would serve as an impediment to them taking on China militarily if the situation so demands around the time when the Beijing Winter Olympics are on.
The fate of the Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing now hangs in the balance. All major countries have refused to sign the Olympic Truce, and Xi Jinping will continue to sweat until the contingents of these countries do not arrive in China for the games. That in itself is quite a punishment for the man.