Wednesday, December 29, 2021

What “Diplomatic Boycott”? – Now U.S. Flip-Flops & Applies Visa To Send Officials To The Beijing Winter Games

What “Diplomatic Boycott”? – Now U.S. Flip-Flops & Applies Visa To Send Officials To The Beijing Winter Games

China appears to be laughing at the U.S.’ latest U-turn in sending officials to the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, scheduled to kick off on Feb 4. President Joe Biden announced on Dec 6 that as part of the U.S. boycott against so-called China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses”, Washington would not send officials to the Winter Olympics.

The boycott means that while American athletes will still participate, the U.S. will not send any official representatives to the games. The White House said – “The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,”

“U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that. The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games,” – said the White House.

The International Olympic Committee said it respected the US government’s decision for a diplomatic boycott, which was largely symbolic. However, China has vowed to take “countermeasures”, raising the prospect that the Chinese would retaliate by boycotting host United States’ 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Beijing says it rejects the politicization of sports.

Interestingly, Biden had taken weeks before officially announced the boycott, as the president hinted a month earlier (November) about his intention. Some said the delay was to allow a cooling period after a phone call between President Biden and his counterpart President Xi Jinping. Others said Washington was actually waiting for an official invitation from Beijing.

The boycott was announced only after it was confirmed that there would be no invitation from Beijing to Washington to attend the Games. China has mocked the U.S., saying that there can’t be a U.S. boycott because Washington hasn’t been invited. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying said – “One can’t decline an invitation without first receiving one.”

On the contrary, Russian President Vladimir Putin received an invitation and has confirmed his attendance to the opening of the Games. Putin’s promise to attend demonstrates the close relationship between both countries as the Russian supremo has travelled abroad only twice (to Geneva to meet Biden in June and to New Delhi to meet PM Modi) since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020.

The U.S. hoped its decision to boycott China would influence other countries to do the same, delivering not only a humiliation to the Chinese government, but also to show that the world was solidly behind the United States. Biden was hoping his boycott could mirror a similar U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, which saw 65 countries joining the boycott.

Unfortunately, only a handful of loyalists like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Japan have joined the U.S. bandwagon so far. China has slammed countries which have announced plans to boycott the Games, saying they would “pay a price for their wrong moves” – suggesting there could be economic repercussions at a later stage, when the time is right for Beijing to retaliate.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the boycott was in response to “human rights abuses” in China’s Xinjiang province and “many other issues that Australia has consistently raised”. But Beijing said if there was no plan to invite Britain or the superpower U.S. from the beginning, it was a wishful thinking for Australia to think it would receive any invitation at all.

Beijing also lectured Canberra – “Australia’s success at the Beijing Winter Olympics depends on the performance of Australian athletes, not on the attendance of Australian officials.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said Australia was “blindly following” the U.S. in announcing a diplomatic boycott, belittling the Aussie’s move – “Whether they come or not, nobody cares.”

South Korea, another US ally in the Asia-Pacific region, has refused to take part in the boycott. Likewise, the European Union, especially Germany and France, were also not interested to mix politics with sports. But now that the U.S. has officially submitted applications for three-month Chinese visas for 18 American officials, it’s an admission that the boycott has failed.

Even though Washington insisted that its “diplomatic boycott” will remain in place, despite the visa application, the U.S. can’t explain why 15 out of the 18 applicants were officials who work for the State Department. Clearly, it was a slap in the face of President Joe Biden that less than a month about the official boycott, the U.S. has backpedalled by sending officials to the Games after all.

Worse, Beijing reveals that there were requests for 40 more visas for U.S. officials in the next few months. Of course, Washington said it does not consider those officials as part of the boycott since they will be at the Beijing Winter Olympics for “security and medical support”. Nevertheless, it’s unknown if China will grant visas to the American officials.

Calling it a “farce” or a comical drama-turn-disaster, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said – “With regard to the US request to send a team of government officials to China and their visa applications, the Chinese side will handle them in accordance with international customary practice, relevant regulations and the principle of reciprocity.”

Chinese officials also laughed at the U.S. face-saving remarks that the U.S. officials applying for visas do not count as U.S. officials. At least one of them works for the Pentagon. More importantly, Biden’s U-turn would be an embarrassment to blind supporters like the U.K, Australia, Canada and Japan, who are now trapped over the U.S. president’s flip-flop and contradictory decisions.

According to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the official U.S. delegation headed for Beijing is composed of 230 athletes for the Winter Olympics and 65 athletes for the Winter Paralympics. If indeed China has committed genocide and crimes against humanity, Biden administration should not send 18 officials to the Games, let alone 58.

1 comment:

  1. Wakakakakaka…

    Red faces all round for these Yankee myrmidons of the like of loyalists like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Japan!

    What would these pact of Xiao Di do now?

    Oooop… there is more for boycotting goods manufactured in Xinjiang to sound that 'violation‚ of human right & 'genocide' of Uyghur Muslim in Xinjiang.

    The central Chinese CPC govt has decreed that all exports to countries taking part in this boycott would bear trademark of manufacturing in Xinjiang!

    Would these demoNcratic dickheads reject those goods - many r essential to their very well-being?

    Otherwise, what is that Xinjiang boycott?

    A comical show of dumb dogs chasing their own tails!