BERLIN (AP) – IOC President Thomas Bach sees great international support for the upcoming Winter Games in Beijing despite a planned diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games in some countries.
“The international community’s support for this Olympic Winter Games is clear and welcome,” the president of the International Olympic Committee said in his New Year’s address a month before the start of the Games.
The United States, Australia, Great Britain and Canada announced that they would not send politicians to the Games from 4 February to 20 February. China has been criticized for human rights violations in its dealings with Uighurs and Tibetans, threats against Taiwan and its suppression of the democracy movement in Hong Kong. Recently, German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock and Interior Minister Nancy Fesser announced that they would not travel to Beijing for the Games.
In the video message, Bach also emphasized the political neutrality of the IOC. “The Olympic Games are above any conflict,” he said, referring to a recent proposal by the United Nations to declare an Olympic ceasefire. This shows that the mission of connecting the world can be successful only if Olympia is beyond all political controversy.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Bach expressed “great confidence that we will host a safe and secure Winter Olympics”. Beijing will create history with the Games as the first city to host the Olympic Games in summer and winter. The 2008 Summer Olympics took place in Beijing.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211231-99-552541/2