Power Play

Beijing Olympics 2022: The politics of boycotts

A US boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics might wound Beijing’s pride, but it won’t change China’s human rights policies.

Power Play is a weekly column that looks at various facets of US-China rivalry and its implications for Asia.

International advocacy groups have called for an athlete boycott of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing and have also lobbied governments not to send their athletes to compete. PHOTO: AFP
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

China had planned a grand torch relay for the 2008 Summer Olympics, a coming-out party where it could flex its diplomatic and economic muscles on a global stage.

But the relay, which spanned continents and even featured a climb up Mount Everest, was repeatedly disrupted in San Francisco, London and Paris by activists protesting against Beijing's crackdown in Tibet.

Already a subscriber? 

Dive deeper at $0.99/month

Want more exclusives, sharp insights into what's happening at home and abroad? Subscribe to stay informed.

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • 2-week e-paper archive so you never miss out on any topic that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.