Updated December 11th, 2021 at 21:50 IST
Japan to join America in diplomatic boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics; China reacts
Amid speculation of attending the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Japan has hinted at joining the United States strategy of punishing China.
Amid speculation of attending the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Japan has hinted at joining the United States strategy of punishing China for its human rights violations by restricting its diplomats from attending the mega event, ANI reported citing sources of Kyodo News. However, the sources have not cleared about Japan's stand over sending their athletes to Beijing. Earlier, newly appointed Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had also said that the country was mulling over allowing athletes to join the sports event. According to him, the decision will be taken while keeping "national interests" in mind.
Meanwhile, while speaking to Japan Forward, a prominent Japanese academic and critic Masato Ushio said that Tokyo must not behave blindly like other countries and added that it should ban its athletes from joining the Olympics which is scheduled for February next year. "Japan must not tread the same path again," ANI quoted Ushio as saying. "At the very least, a diplomatic boycott. No, that's not enough. The athletes should also boycott the opening ceremony because the host nation's head of state makes the opening declaration during the ceremony," argued Masato.
US slams China for discouraging human rights
It is worth mentioning that the Biden administration announced the boycott of February’s Beijing Winter Games at the diplomatic level. However, the US players will participate in the upcoming Olympics. Meanwhile, AP quoted White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying that the Biden administration will support the sportsmen but will not allow its diplomats to travel in a country that has no respect for human beings. Notably, Psaki was pointing fingers towards China's oppressive policy towards minorities, especially Uyghur Muslims. "US has a fundamental commitment to promoting human rights and that the US will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games," AP quoted Psaki.
Notably, after the US announcement, several countries like UK, Australia, New Zealand joined the line. However, France said it would consult other European nations and only then it would announce its final call over the participation. Meanwhile, South Korea, which also shares good relations with the US has announced to participate in the upcoming winter Olympics. Notably, the Moon Jae-in administration expects that the Beijing Olympics would result in a breakthrough in attempts to restart the Korea peace process, similar to the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018. Besides, Russian President Vladamir Putin also announced to attend the Olympics.
China responded to US actions
Countering the allegations of the UK, China earlier this week, on December 6, blamed Biden for violating the "Olympic spirit" by not letting the diplomatic representatives attend the mega event. According to AP, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that the US is reacting out of ideological indifferences and rumours. "The boycott seriously violates the principle of political neutrality of sports established by the Olympic Charter and runs counter to the Olympic motto ‘more united'," Zhao added.
(With inputs from Agencies)
Published December 11th, 2021 at 21:50 IST