In the annals of diplomacy, the White House official confirmation of a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing might qualify at best as a disc thrower being hit by a boomerang.
Realpolitik minds struggle to find a point in this gratuitous provocation, intervening less than two months before the start of the show, on February 4, 2022 at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing.
According to White House reasoning, “the Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.”
To start with, no one among the Joe Biden handlers in the administration or any other officials were invited in the first place. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, remarked the US was “hyping a ‘diplomatic boycott’ without even being invited to the Games”.
Zhao also stressed the Games are not “a stage for political posturing”, and added the “blatant political provocation” constitutes “a serious affront to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.” He left hanging in the air the possibility of “resolute countermeasures”.
What that implies is the recent Xi-Biden virtual summit also melt in the air when it comes to promoting a more diplomatic entente cordiale. Predictably, Washington politicians who prevailed are the ones obsessed on demonizing Beijing using the perennial human rights pretext.
Top billing goes to Polish-American Democrat Senator Tom Malinowski from New Jersey, the vice-chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Malinowski is not strange to dodgy dealings. On October 21, 2021, the House Committee on Ethics issued a report confirming he had failed to properly disclose his stock trades since early 2020, as he
bought or sold as much as $1 million of stock in medical and tech companies that had a stake in the response to Covid-19. The trades were actually just one aspect of a stock buying and selling spree worth as much as $3.2 million.
All throughout 2021, with multiple ethics complaints and an ethics investigation piling up, Malinowski was forced to direct his financial advisor to cease with stock market shenanigans, and announced he set up a blind trust for his assets.
Yet Malinowski’s main line of business is actually China demonization.
In June, Malinowski, alongside Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) was the key articulator of a resolution urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2022 Games “away from Beijing” unless the PRC government ended “ongoing crimes against the Uyghur people”. The Americans were supported by legislators in nine European nations, plus the European Parliament.
At the time, Malinowski said, “there’s no such thing as non-political games – dictatorships like China host the Olympics to validate their standing…even as they continue to commit crimes against their people.”
Malinowski is very close to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi – who is fervently pro-boycott. So this directive comes from the top of the Democrat leadership: the White House imprimatur was just a formality.
The “genocide” perpetrator
Considering the rolling color revolution in Hong Kong ended up as a total failure, human rights in Xinjiang remains a predictable pretext/target – on a par with the imminent “invasion” of Taiwan.
Arguably the best contextualized exposition of the real situation in Xinjiang is here. The “genocide” fallacy has been completely debunked by thorough independent analysis, as in here and here. The White House essentially regurgitates the “analysis” of a far-right religious nut first endorsed by Mike “we cheat, we lie, we steal” Pompeo. Talk about a continuity of government.
During the Cold War, the Olympics did become hostage to diplomatic boycotts. In 1980, the US under then president Jimmy Carter snubbed the Moscow Olympics along with other 64 nations in protest for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The USSR for its part, alongside the Iron Curtain, boycotted the 1984 games in Los Angeles.
What happens now falls under the seal of Cold War 2.0 and the demonization of China across the spectrum, mostly via Hybrid War tactics.
Xinjiang is a prime target not because of the Uyghurs, but because it is the strategic connector between western China and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) corridors across Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia all the way to Europe. BRI – which is the centerpiece Chinese foreign policy concept for the foreseeable future – is an absolute anathema in Washington.
The fact that the US has been staging countless, costly, devastating declinations of humanitarian imperialism in Muslim lands, directly and indirectly, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and beyond, but now, suddenly, is in tears about the fate of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, speaks for itself.
“Rights” groups barely disguised as CIA propaganda fronts have predictably been shrieking non-stop, urging the “international community” – an euphemism for NATOstan – to boycott the Beijing Olympics. These are irrelevant. Governments are a more serious matter.
Twenty nations refused to sign the Olympic Truce with China. This tradition, originating in Ancient Greece, makes sure that political upheaval does not interfere with sport. The – Western – justification for yet another provocation: we’re “sending a message” to Beijing.
In the UK, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg remarked recently that “no tickets have been booked” for the Olympics. The Foreign Office said earlier this week, “no decisions have yet been made” about sending officials to Beijing.
France will “coordinate” with other EU members, although the Elysée made a point that ‘when we are worried about human rights, we tell the Chinese…We adopted sanctions on Xinjiang last March.” That was a reference to the US, UK, EU, Canada and a few other allies sanctioning some Chinese officials for the glaring fake news the White House officially describes as “genocide”.
So any adherence to the White House directive this coming February will come essentially from NATOstan members and of course AUKUS. In contrast, across Asia and the Global South, no one could be bothered. South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Choi Yong-sam, for instance, stressed that South Korea supports the Olympics.
President Putin for his part accepted a personal invitation from Xi Jinping, and he will be at the inauguration.
Extremely strict Covid-19 control measures will be enforced during the Olympics, so for the organizers a smaller number of Western official guests flying in, in terms of cost, is actually a benefit.
So in the end what’s left of this fit of hysteria? Elon Musk may have nailed it this week at a CEO Council Summit, when he remarked that China’s economy could soon be two or three times the size of the US economy. That hurts. And there’s no way any boycott will solve it.