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26 Jan, 2022 10:47

Taiwan to boycott Beijing Games over ‘diplomatic slights’ – report

An official has reportedly said that Taiwan, which disputes it is part of China's sovereign territory, will shun a diplomatic presence at the Games
Taiwan to boycott Beijing Games over ‘diplomatic slights’ – report

Taiwan will join the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics because it expects China to flaunt pro-unification messages and prominently feature Taiwanese volunteers in promotional videos, a report has said.

A government-appointed taskforce has decided Taiwan will shun the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games in February 2022, according to the Taipei Times, which quoted an official 'with knowledge of the matter' speaking on condition of anonymity.

Taiwan's Executive Yuan, Ministry of Education and Mainland Affairs Council are said to be concerned that sending a delegation to the ceremonies would legitimize 'diplomatic slights' that Beijing is 'sure to make' against Taiwan during the Games.

China is supposedly ready to position Taiwan in a way that backs its claims that Taiwan is Chinese territory at the Opening Ceremony, as well as referring to "Chinese Taipei" and displaying pro-unification messages.

In a New Year's speech, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen pledged that the territory would "neither bow to pressure nor act rashly" over its tensions with China.

“We want to remind the Beijing authorities that they should not misjudge the situation, and that they should stop the spread of military adventurism within their ranks,” she added, calling military deployments "absolutely not an option" for reaching a resolution.

The issue was part of wider US-Chinese tensions throughout 2021, including condemnation from Beijing over arms deals between US President Joe Biden's administration and Taiwan.

Last year, Taiwan accused Beijing of repeatedly flying jet fighters and bombers near its borders.

China has boycotted sports events hosted by Taiwan, with 72 athletes absent from the opening ceremony for the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung.

Chinese President Xi Jinping used his New Year's address to describe the "complete reunification of our motherland" as "an aspiration shared by people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”

The US, UK and numerous other countries, including Australia and Canada, are performing a diplomatic boycott largely because of alleged human rights transgressions by China.

Human rights campaigners have held demonstrations in Taipei calling for a boycott to be carried out.

Some leaders, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, have questioned whether the boycotts can have any meaningful impact and argued that the drastic moves conflict with Olympic principles.

Putin is one of the key figures to have joined Chinese officials in calling for countries to avoid politicizing sports.

The Beijing Winter Olympics Games run from February 4-20 2022.