United States President Joe Biden has made it clear that he is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Washington Post reported that an official decision will be made by the end of November.
A diplomatic boycott of the Olympics would mean that the government would not send leaders, ministers, or government delegations to events like the opening ceremony, although athletes will still compete with their utmost effort.
The boycott will be a means to protest against human rights abuses by the Xi Jinping administration in areas such as the Xinjiang region and Hong Kong.
The Beijing Olympics must be prevented from becoming a glorification of the Xi administration, a regime that has no shame in violating human rights. A diplomatic boycott will show that Japan will not tolerate human rights violations and will stand by those who suffer under oppression. This is the path that Japan must take as a nation that respects human rights.
China drew international condemnation for sending more than one million Uyghurs to concentration camps and forcing sterilization on Uyghur women, crushing freedom of speech and democracy in Hong Kong with its national security law, and carrying out a series of repressions in the autonomous regions of Tibet and Inner Mongolia.
US Democrat House Speaker Pelosi proposed a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics in May. She emphasized that the Chinese government should not be honored, asking, “What moral authority do you have to speak again about human rights in any place in the world if you’re willing to pay your respects to the Chinese government as they commit genocide?”
In June, the US House and Senate passed the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which seeks a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s approach towards this human rights issue has been inexplicably ambiguous.
In an interview on November 19, Prime Minister Kishida went no further than to say that nothing had been decided at this stage and that a decision would be made by carefully considering Japan’s national interests.
But there is no room for indecision. The correct course of action is obvious: demand the Xi administration to immediately cease its human rights violations, and declare that Japan will launch a diplomatic boycott if it refuses to concede. Of course, Japan must ensure that the athletes will not be affected.
The preamble of the Constitution of Japan expressly states that the Japanese people “desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth.”
But nothing would be more damaging to Japan’s honor and national interests than for its prime minister, ministers, and delegation to shake hands with those in charge of the oppressive Chinese government at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
(Read the Sankei Shimbun editorial in Japanese at this link.)
Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun