A clock announcing the countdown to the start of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is installed on a street in Beijing, the capital of China.
German government minister for sports and foreign affairs Olaf Scholz has decided not to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics in February next year. The German government explained that their absence was a personal decision, but it is interpreted that they actually participated in a diplomatic boycott led by the United States.
A spokesperson for the German Ministry of Home Affairs and Sports said on the 29th (local time) that Interior Minister Nancy Pager had made a personal decision not to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, partly because of the global pandemic of COVID-19, Reuters reported. Germany has traditionally sent its interior minister to the Olympics on behalf of the president.
German Foreign Minister Anna Lena Baerbok also told dpa on the same day, “I’m a sports fan, but I definitely won’t go this time.” Minister Bae Eobok also explained that not attending the Beijing Winter Olympics was his personal decision and that Germany is still seeking to negotiate a common position on a diplomatic boycott with EU partners.
A German government spokeswoman also told Reuters that Chancellor Olaf Scholz has not yet decided whether or not to go to China for the Beijing Winter Olympics, and Germany is still discussing the matter with its EU allies. Earlier, German government spokesman Steffen Hevestreit said at the first regular press conference on the 13th that when asked if Chancellor Scholz had plans to attend the Winter Olympics, he said, “There are no plans to attend so far.”
After the United States officially declared a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics on the 6th, citing human rights issues in Xinjiang, China, the EU has been seeking a common approach among member states on whether to participate in the boycott. However, some member states, such as France and Italy, have expressed their skepticism about participating in the diplomatic boycott.
A diplomatic boycott is a boycott method in which the athletes participate in the Olympics, but not the delegation made up of officials from the government or politicians. After the United States declared a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this month on the grounds of human rights abuses by China, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan have joined the action.