The Czech Republic considers boycotting the Winter Olympics in China

Photo: Reuters

At the European Council meeting on Thursday, December 16, EU foreign ministers will discuss the possible diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympic Games in China. Several leading politicians in the Czech Republic have indicated that they favor following the example of several countries outside of the European Union in diplomatically boycotting the Games. However, Czech MEPs are divided on the issue within the European Parliament. The Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing from February 4 to 20, 2022.

China has been criticized for holding more than a million people in so-called re-education camps in undignified conditions. There are widespread allegations of Chinese atrocities against the Uyghur community. Human rights groups and Western governments have accused China of genocide in the Xinjiang region. The USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand are responding to human rights violations with a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics games. ChChina’soreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, accused these countries of using the Olympics for political purposes and warned them to pay the price for their actions.

It is estimated that the Czech Republic will join the diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China if the European Union countries choose a common approach. On this issue, both outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and future Prime Minister Petr Fiala seem to consider the diplomatic boycott as an understandable step. 

“I have never even attended the Olympics. Of course, there’s a valid point here about boycotting. It will certainly be on the table at the European Council, so Europe should act united, “said Andrej Babiš.

The invitation to the Olympic Games is traditionally extended by the Czech Olympic Committee (COC) to the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Education. “I understand the US position, and I think what is important here is that this is not a sports boycott but a political one. ChChina’siolation of human rights is not acceptable. My personal opinion is that our government must decide collectively, “stated Petr Fiala (ODS).

“What is happening in human rights in China under the communist dictatorship also commands me to boycott the Games politically by not participating in them as a politician,” declared Petr Gazdík (STAN), the incoming Education Minister.

There are long-standing and systematic human rights violations in China, and we have a lot of evidence of them. We should not ignore it, “commented the Speaker of the House, Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09).