By Amanda Baxter
The 2022 Winter Olympics is set to take place in Beijing next February. There has been much talk about the United States looking to boycott the 2022 Olympic Games due to political reasons.
China has recently received much backlash from outside countries because of Uighur Muslims and other minorities’ treatment. China’s government’s ultimate goal is to have one cultured country, and in attempting to do so, the Chinese government is violating human rights. A lot of the motivation behind this is keeping a very tight-knit and single-minded culture. China has been pushing Uighur Muslims into forced labor to increase production levels. According to AP News, this is being labeled as a genocide by human rights groups. China can get away with it because of the United Nation’s inability to handle these sorts of situations.
“Save Uighur.org” gives an estimation of the number of people being held prisoners of this government. One to three million Uighur prisoners are being held in concentration camps and thousands of children in orphanages. Also, China is destroying Mosques, harvesting prisoners’ organs, forcing abortions on countless women, and forcing labor on these innocent people.
Beijing is the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Activists attempted to move the games out of China but failed. These people are now trying to contact the National Olympic Committee, athletes, and sponsors in hopes of making some impact.
Jules Boykoff, a professor at Pacific University in Oregon, who studies the Olympics, believes that a boycott can impact. He tells Time Magazine his thoughts on the power within a boycott when “athletes put their careers on the line to stand up for what they believe in.”
According to DW News, The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) gave word that although plenty of people supported a boycott, it would hurt athletes that spent their lives training for the Olympic games. USOPC president Susanne Lyons gave a press conference to give updates.
“While we would never want to minimize what is happening from a human rights perspective in China, we do not support an athlete boycott,” said Lyons, referencing the internment of Uighur Muslims, which the US has said amounted to genocide.”
This is not the first time the US has contemplated boycotting the Olympics. On March 21, 1980, President Jimmy Carter prevented the US from competing in Moscow’s summer Olympics. This was done to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1980, Only 80 countries out of 145 competed in the games that summer to make a statement.
Edwin Moses, a 1976 Olympic gold medalist in track, made personal sacrifices to dedicate his life to training for the Olympics. After President Carter announced the boycott, Moses was devastated he was unable to compete. According to Tampa Bay Times, nearly 2,400 people representing the US were told they would not be traveling to Moscow.
With the boycott still in question, the United States wants to point out that they do not support China by withdrawing all US athletes. This brings about the problem that the athletes who have trained long and hard for these games will no longer have the chance to compete and represent their country.