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Winter Olympics, 2022: Through The Lens of Politics

China’s capital city, Beijing is the first to hold a record of hosting both Summer and Winter Olympics after 14-year

Image Credit- United World International

The Politics Inside the Winter Olympics in Beijing 

The much-awaited Winter Olympics, 2022 are held in Beijing, China; after several discussions, China decided not to involve sports in political matters. Hosting a sports show amid the pandemic is a challenge for a country from where it all started. However, America declared a diplomatic boycott of the games, because China denies Human Rights abuses but activists have dubbed the gathering in Beijing the Genocide Games and western powers from the US to the UK. Thus, China made it clear by saying the Olympics should not be used as a cause “a stage for political posturing and manipulation.” As the global eye shifted to Beijing, it was clear that Chinese officials were not planning to escape from geopolitical issues. Hours before the opening ceremony, China and Russia held a meeting, where the two countries released a statement opposing the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The criticism surrounding Winter Olympics has prioritized China’s treatment over human rights abuses of Uyghurs, including the other Muslim communities and Tibetans.

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Russia and China as Alliance

According to Reuters, On the opening day of the Olympics, China and Russia declared a “no limit” partnership backing each other over standoffs on Ukraine and Taiwan with a promise to join against the West. Russia and China declared in a joint statement that, “Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.” These countries have built mutual support for each other since they both are under pressure from the West on human rights and other problems. According to the Atlantic Council, the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, refers to the relationship between China and Russia as a “quantum shift” between the world’s two largest authoritarian powers. The shift has been described by nearly 5300 joint word statements by the President of both Russia and China. Their statement discussed a plan in collaborating to redistribute global power. According to the Guardian, while the whole world was focusing on the Winter Olympics and cheering on the athletes, the Chinese government used the Russian summit to confront the expansion of authoritarianism. Taiwan’s foreign ministry said, “This is an insult to the peaceful spirit embodied by the Olympic rings, and will be spurned by Taiwan’s people and held in contempt by democratic countries.

China, Russia and American Conflicts 

The United States criticized the meeting led by China and Russia, by saying that Chinese President Xi Jinping should have used the meeting to lower tensions in Ukraine. On February 4, a joint statement was issued by Russian President Vladamir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as the Winter Olympics hosted in Beijing could be an alert to a new turning point in a new Cold War. 

The former United States Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger said, “ “The Sino-US rapprochement started as a tactical aspect of the Cold War; it evolved to where it became central to the evolution of the new global order.” 

Significant hints can be identified in the triangulation of the first cold war. On the Soviet military threat, the US countered by embracing China in an economic marriage of convenience. The US-China partnership initially providing cheap products for American customers has observed a shortfall in the trading business and now has been shattered by trade and tech war. 

Recently, the US, UK, and Australia established the AUKUS trilateral security agreement. China points at the Trans-Pacific Partnership that banned China from its trading and former US President Donald Trump’s tariff and sanctions on its tech companies. 

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Why Does China Insist on Holding the Olympics Amid the Pandemic and its Challenges?

China aims to have “zero covid”, however, the Olympics maintained tight covid- 19 protocols and the Games are filled with political tensions over allegations of human rights abuses and boycotts. Many countries declared a diplomatic boycott of the event, however, they have sent athletes from their countries but there would be no ministers or officials attending the event. The US confirmed that the purpose of the boycott was because of China’s human rights abuses against the Muslim population region. British MP, Duncan Smith, representing the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance in China said, “The Chinese government commits industrial-scale human rights abuses in the Uyghur Region, Tibet and sends near-daily military incursions into Taiwan’s airspace. We cannot lend any legitimacy to China’s despotic regime.” 

China rejects all allegations of human rights abuse and has constantly denied the politicization of the Games. China has also warned the accusers of the US and Germany not to get involved in its “internal affairs.” Athletes and other participants were asked about security weaknesses in the app, which they need to monitor for daily covid updates. The audience is disappointed as no tickets are sold to the public in order to be committed toward covid rules. 

How Does the US and Australia Challenge China in Mixing Politics and Security? 

According to the Guardian, maintaining unity in the face of the China challenge is important because China aims to cause division in countries like Australia, between the business community, security bureaucracy and between different levels of government. The US intelligence community is getting back from the Trump administration towards the end of the year. The Defense Strategic Update of 2022 made clear that Australia is not at war. Australia’s security environment is increasingly characterized by “grey zone” competition and state behaviour is aggressive but often deniable and falls short of acts of war. This includes cyber instructions and foreign interference.  

In a recent press conference, Scott Morrison, PM of Australia said, “The Chinese government is happy to criticise Australia … yet remains chillingly silent on Russian troops amassing on the Ukrainian border.”