Olympic boycott: The federal government has no clear position

Status: 01/21/2022 10:32 a.m

The Olympic Games start in less than two weeks. Several states have announced diplomatic boycotts of the games. The federal government is keeping a low profile – but the calls for an answer are getting louder.

By Philipp Eckstein, ARD Capital Studio

Diplomatic Boycott of the Winter Olympics Yes or No? The new federal government has been asked this again and again since it took office at the beginning of December.

Philip Eckstein

“Yes, thank you very much for these questions,” said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week. But again he did not give a clear answer:

It is still the case that we as the German government are in consultation with our European partners on the question of how we will act with regard to China as far as the Olympic Games are concerned. And this process is not yet complete in every respect.

“No new stand”

The request then a week later. The answer of the federal government is: “There is no new status.”

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit referred again to Europe instead. And that several members of the government had already announced that they would not be traveling to Beijing.

Baerbock and Faeser are not traveling

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, SPD, who is also responsible for sports, said in the Bundestag: “That I personally will not take part in the Olympic Games in Beijing.”

And Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has already announced that she will not be traveling to China. That wasn’t just an answer to the question of whether Germany would take part in the diplomatic boycott.

“As soon as I have something to explain, I’m very happy to do so,” said government spokesman Hebestreit on Wednesday.

Time is running out

But time is running out if the federal government still wants to decide something. In less than two weeks, the winter games begin.

criticism of China

The United States announced in early December that no government officials would be traveling to the games. The United States referred in particular to the situation of the Muslim Uyghur minority, who are being brutally oppressed in China. It is not only the US government that is now publicly accusing the Chinese leadership of committing genocide against the minority. China firmly rejects the allegations.

The violent crackdown on democracy activists and journalists in Hong Kong recently highlighted the human rights situation in China.

Diplomatic boycott several countries

Britain, Canada, Japan and Australia have joined the diplomatic boycott.

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod also said last week that his country would take part. At the same time, he regretted that it had not yet been possible to find a common position within the EU.

Demand for a decision by the federal government

Germany too should finally commit to a diplomatic boycott, Michael Brand, human rights spokesman for the CDU faction in the Bundestag, demands: “A country as strong as Germany, the strongest economy in Europe, has to take a stand here and can’t say we’re hiding us behind the EU, behind Corona or something else.”

Economic concerns should not be put forward, Brand said ARD Capital Studio:

Because there must be no selling out of human rights to a big market, because that would also mean selling out one’s own values ​​to an increasingly aggressive and brutal regime.

André Hahn from the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag rejects a diplomatic boycott: “Boycotts achieve almost nothing politically and ultimately only harm sport. I also believe that the athletes deserve respect and the support of politicians.”

According to the left-wing politician, it is better to address human rights violations locally.

In less than two weeks, the Winter Olympics will begin in Beijing. Diplomatic boycott yes or no? time for a decision.


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