From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : US-China Rivalry
The US Government has decided not send any official representation to the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing announcing what is being called a “diplomatic boycott” of the games.
What is a ‘diplomatic boycott’?
- A “diplomatic boycott” means no US official will be present at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
- This stops short of a complete boycott, which would have meant the non-participation by US athletes.
- As such, the absence of official representation will not impact the games as much as an athletic boycott would have.
What led to the US boycott?
Ans. Uyghurs Genocide
- The decision was taken because of China’s gross human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang.
- This is the latest clash adding to a long list of differences on trade, Taiwan, human rights and the South China Sea.
- Xinjiang Uyghurs have been sent by Chinese authorities to “re-education” camps, a network of which were constructed beginning in 2016 to house thousands of detainees.
- Beijing initially denied the existence of the camps, but subsequently claimed the centres were for “vocational training”.
Who else is ‘diplomatically boycotting’ the games?
- So far, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have also announced that their officials will not be present at the games.
- None, however, has said their athletes will not attend, which means the games themselves are unlikely to be impacted.
- It remains to be seen if the boycott will gain traction beyond US allies and partners.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Beijing for the opening of the Winter Olympics.
- China has been garnering support from countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
How is China reacting to the boycott?
- Beyond the statements decrying the “politicization” of sports, there is certainly a domestic political undercurrent to the games.
- China’s media, meanwhile, has been largely playing down the reports of the boycotts, underlining how the authorities are going all-out to ensure the games are conducted without a hurdle.
What will be the impact on US-China relations?
- Much recently, the US and Chinese Presidents committed to “responsibly” managing their growing competition amid increasing conflicts.
- Both nations called common-sense guardrails to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.
- China emphasized the “need to treat each other as equals” and warned against “drawing ideological lines”, calling on the US “to meet its word of not seeking a ‘new Cold War’”.