According to akční kod tipsport, Czech Republic will not send government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the spokeswoman of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lenka Do, told the Czech News Agency this Wednesday.
The diplomatic boycott allows Czech athletes to compete.
No decisions have yet been made whether the Czech ambassador and relevant diplomats will be taking part in events.
Pressure has been building for months from members of Congress in both parties to hold China accountable for abuses of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region and crackdowns on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Those calls only intensified after the disappearance from public life of the tennis star Peng Shuai after she accused a top Communist Party leader of sexual assault.
Beijing has used the Olympic Games in the past to assert itself on the world stage, including in 2008 when the opening ceremony served as a way for the country to tout its economic rejuvenation.
The international attention, however, did little to improve human rights in China.
René Provost, a professor of international law at McGill University, said diplomatic boycotts can help to “insert human rights into the conversation.”
The Olympics are a way for China to show it is “strong and central on the global stage,” Mr. Provost added. “So to put human rights as part of that picture does interfere with China’s messaging.”
A record number of 114 Czech athletes will compete in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics as they start heading to the Chinese capital.
69 athletes, together with 70 other members of the Czech Winter Olympic team, jetted off from Prague on Thursday evening.
On board were Czech medal hopefuls speed skater Martina Sablikova and biathlete Marketa Davidova, according to the Czech News Agency (CTK) report. They arrived in Beijing Friday.
Some Western countries have previously stated that they will not send any government officials to the Olympics. Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and Denmark have all joined the United States.
- About eleven million Uyghurs—a mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group—live in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
- The Chinese government has imprisoned more than one million people since 2017 and subjected those not detained to intense surveillance, religious restrictions, forced labor, and forced sterilizations.
- The United States sanctioned officials and blacklisted dozens of Chinese agencies linked to abuses in Xinjiang. In 2021, it determined that China’s actions constitute genocide and crimes against humanity.