Winter Olympics: Lord Coe says diplomatic boycott of Beijing Games is ‘meaningless’ | Olympics News

Coe: “Boycotts, on balance, are historically illiterate and intellectually dishonest. A political boycott is, frankly, meaningless”; five countries have so far chosen not to send government delegates to next year’s Games for criticism of the human rights situation in China

Last updated: 31/12/21 6:36


Sebastian Coe believes boycotts are outdated and ineffective

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe says he takes human rights “very seriously”, but that the British diplomatic boycott of next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics is “nonsense”.

The United States, Lithuania, Australia and Canada also announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games on China’s human rights situation, a position that China dismissed as a “political attitude”.

Coe drew criticism of his comments last week when he claimed he was “philosophically opposed”.

“Boycotts, on balance, are historically illiterate and intellectually dishonest. A political boycott is, frankly, meaningless,” Coe said.

The Winter Olympics start on February 4th next year

The Winter Olympics start on February 4th next year

“I don’t want to be an apologist for countries that don’t conform to basic human rights standards … I’m not cool or dismissive about human rights. I take them very seriously.

“I don’t think in the long run (boycotts) they really get a lot. There are always unwanted consequences. And in the end, the people who suffer the most from all of this are the athletes.”

The Beijing Games start on February 4th and last until February 20th.

In early December, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the UK will not send any delegates to the Chinese capital for next year’s Games, and therefore there would “effectively” be a boycott.

He said: “There will actually be a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, no ministers and no officials are expected.

“I don’t think sports boycotts make sense and that remains government policy.

“The government does not hesitate to raise these issues with China, as I did with President Xi [Jinping] the last time I spoke to him. “

Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Lithuania and Australia will not send government representatives to Beijing in February

Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Lithuania and Australia will not send government representatives to Beijing in February

Recently, Coe defended the decision to add another Diamond League event in China next year.

The announcement came in the wake of the Women’s Tennis Association’s suspension of tournaments in the country over concerns about Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis star who accused a former senior official in a November social media post attributed to her. Communist Party to force her to have sex.

In a video published by Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese-language Singaporean newspaper, Shuai recently denied saying she was sexually assaulted.

“We are obviously concerned about the well-being of all athletes,” Coe said. “I believe that all athletes should be free to voice their concerns and sports should never shy away from making these points.

“But it is still better to have an open dialogue and sporting relationships than to pull the drawbridge. Very few other sectors choose to do so. Sport has always played a very important role in the skilled diplomacy that has historically proved to be very successful at times.

“They [boycotts] they tend not to achieve what they set out to achieve. Diplomatic boycotts, while not affecting the athlete much, are not particularly strong gestures.

“It is really important that the Diamond League has a foothold in all of our great athletics nations.

“You make all kinds of assessments and judgments when you look at your match schedule and schedule. We consider this an important part of our sport.”

.

Leave a Comment