A diplomatic boycott initiated by the United States has been set on the Winter Olympics 2022 because of China’s human rights violations. However, at the games’ opening ceremony, a group of leaders gathered, the majority of whom had important political or commercial ties to China.
Here’s a list of countries that are attending the event and why.
Russia- The first foreign leader to announce his attendance at the Beijing Olympics in September was Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Xi Jinping, whom Putin refers to as his “dear friend,” is a close friend of the Kremlin strongman. The inclusion highlights China and Russia’s connections as both countries’ relations with the US sour.
Pakistan- Pakistan, which shares a border with China, is a crucial partner for Beijing, with projects such as the $54 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to improve infrastructure, electricity, and transportation ties between China’s northern Xinjiang province and Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
Egypt and Siberia- Presidents Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt and Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia have been at odds with the West over their authoritarian policies and human rights records. Vucic also referred to Xi as his “brother” for providing Serbia with respirators and vaccinations.
United Nations- Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, have been the attendees’. According to Guterres, the IOC is a close partner of the United Nations, and the Olympics bring people together with a message of solidarity and peace.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE- Oil is the core of Beijing’s ties with the Gulf. China is Saudi Arabia’s largest oil consumer and a key natural gas user in Qatar. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, attended the Winter Olympics as investors and certain nations indicate improved relations following the assassination of writer Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.
Argentina and Ecuador- Argentina is preparing to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative as the first major Latin American country. President Alberto Fernández is also anticipated to address China’s assistance in the construction of Argentina’s first nuclear power plant, which has been in the works since 1981.
Now, here are the countries that are boycotting the games.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Denmark have declared a diplomatic boycott of the Games in protest of China’s human rights record. Other countries, like Japan, are not sending representatives and have expressed reservations about China’s human rights record without formally joining the boycott.
Kosovo and Lithuania, whose relations with China have deteriorated due to their links with Taiwan, are boycotting the games diplomatically as well. Following news that a Chinese military commander engaged in fatal clashes with Indian border forces in 2020 had been picked as one of the Olympic torchbearers in Beijing, India stated it would not send any officials.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian and Swedish royals, who usually attend the Winter Olympics, aren’t going this time. There are no leaders from Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, all of which are major winter sports nations. They are officially citing the epidemic rather than any diplomatic objection. Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand have referenced Covid-19 restrictions for not attending the event, while simultaneously expressing worry about China’s human rights situation.