BERLIN (Reuters) – Most of the governments of the 90 countries participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have chosen not to join the diplomatic boycott of the event, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said. .
The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia are among the countries that recently announced their diplomatic boycott of the Games – to be held in Beijing from February 4-20 – due to China’s human rights record, a position that Beijing dismissed as a “political one”.
In the European Union, countries like France have sought a joint response from the divided bloc over whether to join the diplomatic boycott for fear of Chinese retaliation that could hurt trade.
“There are countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia that have made this decision,” Bach told German broadcaster ZDF on Tuesday evening.
“Many other countries, not just several countries, if we say that there will be 90 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) present at the Games, it is very likely that there will be more than 70 or even more than 80 Olympic Committees whose governments have not made such statements. “.
“But they all have one thing in common and that is that they support their Olympic teams…so that their athletes can realize their Olympic dreams,” Bach added.
Human rights groups have long criticized the IOC for awarding the Games to China a second time, even though it did not improve respect for human rights after Beijing 2008.
“What happened politically between those years is not in our sphere of influence,” Bach said. “You can’t blame the IOC for something that a generation or two of politicians failed to do.” “We are responsible for the Olympic Games. Expectations that the Games can change a country’s political system are exaggerated.”
(Reporting by Carlos Grumman; Editing in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)
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