The Dragons Snubbed

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The Olympic games originally arose in Greece and is one of the most prominent sporting game. It was founded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1894 which led to the first Olympic games in Athens in 1896. It is considered an honor to host the Olympics because of it being an esteemed event. The much-awaited Winter Olympics of 2022 is to be hosted by Beijing, China. But, even before the onset of the Olympics, several countries have opted to diplomatically boycott the winter Olympics hosted by China. This article will discuss what is a diplomatic boycott, the countries which have diplomatically boycotted the Olympics, the reason for their boycott and how is this significant on an international level.


What is aboycott? Boycott is an act of refusal to take part in an event or buy things from a particular country or company because one strongly disapproves of it. Recently, the United States of America imposed a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics which means that even though the athletes are allowed to compete, there will be no government official attending the Olympics in their official capacity.

This is not the first time that the Olympics, which is considered to be such a prestigious event, has been boycotted. In the year 2014, President Barack Obama, First lady Michelle Obama and viced- president Joe Biden had skipped the Sochi Olympics held by Russia, and along with the US, France and Germany also had not sent any of their top government officials for the games. The most prominent boycott was the boycott of the Moscow games in the year 1980 where the US led 60 countries to boycott the games because of Soviet Union’s invasion on Afghanistan. In order to retaliate, Soviet Union led more than a dozen countries and boycotted the Los Angles games in 1984.


On 6th December, the United States announced that it would not be sending any officials to the Beijing Olympics which was to commence from the 4th of February, thus imposing a ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the Olympics. The reason for the boycott was due to US alleging China of having committed serious violation of human rights and atrocities against the ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur area where thousands of Uyghurs who are Muslim minorities, were sent to “re-education camp” built in 2016, to actually hold detainees. Beijing recently deniedthe allegation of ‘genocide’ made by the USA.

The call for an Olympic boycott grew stronger, after a Chinese athlete, Pen Shuai, accused a top Chinese government official of assaulting her. Soon after this allegation, she disappeared from the public eye for some time which prompted the athletes from over the world to question her disappearance.

Following the diplomatic boycott of the Olympics by the USA, the countries of Australia, Canada and New Zealand and several other countries have also condemned the actions of China, thus imposing a diplomatic boycott. These countries, thus will not be sending their top officials to the games. India is the latest country which recently boycotted the winter Olympics. The call for boycott sharpened when Chinadeclared People’s Liberation Armysoldier, who was involved in the Galwan Valley attack, the torchbearer for the Olympics. This was considered as an insult to the Indian government and the Indian soldiers. India, not only has decided to boycott the Olympics, but has also decided not to telecast it as a part of the protest.


The diplomatic boycott will not prevent the athletes from participating and thus, it may not be as effective as an athletic boycott, where the athletes themselves refrain from participating in the Olympics. On the upside the issues for which China has been accused off can be highlighted by the media, which otherwise might have been ignored. Cities invest billions for hosting the Olympics. There are a lot of things which are needed to be factored like ensuring highly specialized sports facilities, a venue large enough to host the opening and closing ceremony, inviting member countries for this event and so much more. Olympics also proves to be a major tourist boost for the host country. Boycotting Olympics can cause major financial as well as economic losses for the host country and the country is portrayed in a negative way which can hamper the tourist industry and its relations with other countries.

The boycott started by the United States can cause a strain in the diplomatic relations between US and China as well as with the other countries. Hosting the Olympics is one of the most prestigious events for which athletes prepare for months in advance and due to large number of countries boycotting the games and India especially not telecasting the Olympics will affect the viewership greatly. Many young athletes learn and seek inspiration from these athletes. This would sort of disregard the hard work of athletes around the globe.


There are various controversies surrounding this time’s winter Olympics but China intends to continue with the games. Such boycotts have not a very significant impact in the past as it did not prevent the countries from hosting the Olympics. The impact of the boycott of Beijing Olympics would be known only in the future.