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Czechs join Western calls to boycott China’s 2022 Winter Olympics


Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech Senate has called on the government and local politicians to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China in order not to legitimise Beijing’s continued human rights violations.

Czech senators accuse China of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity”

Voting on the matter following the recommendations of the upper house’s foreign affairs and human rights committees, Czech senators urged politicians from across the spectrum not to take part in next year’s Winter Olympics, condemning the Chinese regime’s repressive policy against Tibet, Uighurs, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The Senate pointed to the previous example of the 2008 Summer Olympics, which it says was used by Beijing to “further suppress human rights and freedoms”, including through the “massive repression against minorities”.

The resolution, which urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to examine China‘s compliance with the Olympic Charter, directly called out Beijing for its “massive violations of human rights, genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic discrimination, and repression against cultural, religious and political identity”.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Prague previously condemned calls to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics, accusing Czech politicians of trying to “politicize sports and interfere in China’s domestic affairs”.

Calls for Olympics boycott gain momentum across Western countries

The Czech Republic isn’t the only country attempting to drum up support for a boycott next February. Last week’s Senate resolution was part of a coordinated action across nearly a dozen Western countries calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics, scheduled to be held just six months after this year’s Tokyo Summer Games.

Like-minded initiatives were launched in the U.S., the European Parliament, Italy, the U.K., Canada, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Lithuania. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, had in May already called for government officials not to attend the Games.

Some campaigners argue a diplomatic boycott (not sending any representatives) is more achievable and easier to implement, instead of putting athletes in an impossible situation, urged to choose between their “morals” and a competition they’ve been training for for years.

Last month, rights groups representing Uighurs, Tibetans and residents of Hong Kong issued a joint statement calling this time for a full-blown boycott of the Olympics.

“The time for talking with the IOC is over,” said Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute. “This cannot be Games as usual or business as usual […] If the Games go ahead, then Beijing gets the international seal of approval for what they are doing.”

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.

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