Why are Olympic athletes boycotting the opening ceremony in Beijing?

By Grace Clissold
As the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing kick off this month, it will bring to light China’s human rights abuses. 

As the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing kick off this month, it will bring to light China’s human rights abuses. 

The international coalition of athletes will boycott the opening ceremony in protest of China’s human rights record. 

Given that publicly condemning China could mean retaliation for these participants, some are choosing not to make an appearance at the ceremonies as a symbolic gesture in solidarity with the regime’s victims, including the Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Hong Kong dissidents.

Not only are athletes boycotting the opening ceremony, many western countries, including the United States, will not be in attendance at the Beijing Games in response to China’s human rights violations. This means that no U.S. government official, including President Biden will be in attendance. 

Boycotting is not all fun and games. Athletes have been advised to hold off on expressing any controversial political opinions in order to avoid getting apprehended by Chinese authorities. Some athletes refuse to participate in the boycott in fear that it will not sit well with their home county. 

The international coalition of athletes is also worried about the exploitation by the Chinese government for propaganda. 

‘You should also ensure that you are not seen to be endorsing or supporting the covering up of human rights abuses by the host country. We advise you to make yourself aware of compromising situations, including photo opportunities with Chinese officials or requests to be pictured alongside people wearing costumes of oppressed “minorities,” or political slogans in Chinese,” an informational pamphlet reads.’

Take Action

For more information on the widespread human rights violations in China, visit amnestyusa.org to learn more.

To take action for human rights in China, sign the petition today.

Use RootsHQ to get in touch with your Senators and find out more about groups who can help you make a difference.

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