Olympics: US diplomatic boycott?
Citing human rights abuses, the US is considering not sending an official delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, although US athletes would still be allowed to compete. Europe's press is also alarmed by the disappearance of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai after she made allegations of abuse against a former high-ranking Chinese politician.
A meaningful signal
Although a boycott of the Winter Olympics is unlikely to have any impact on Beijing's politics, it is the right step to take, writes Ilta-Sanomat:
“The success of the Winter Olympics is of great importance for China's reputation. The Games are an opportunity for China to show its friendly side to the world and defuse the human rights debate. But behind the magnificent backdrop, the country continues to pursue its harsh policies. A diplomatic boycott of the Games won't make Beijing change its course. But it is a good way to signal that its practices are unacceptable without disrupting the sporting events.”
China does not separate sport from politics
Peng Shuai's disappearance demands a united response from the Western sports world, The Times insists:
“China is already battling calls for diplomatic and commercial boycotts of the games over allegations of the genocide of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. Critics say that sports should never be mixed with politics but Beijing's treatment of Ms Peng suggests China respects no such separation. Farcically, the IOC said that it was 'encouraged by the assurances' that the tennis player was safe. ... That makes it all the more important that tennis speaks with one voice and bans China from hosting tournaments unless and until Ms Peng can be verified as safe and free.”