Winter sports in Beijing: “Sports festival cannot cover concerns about human rights”

Winter sports in Beijing: "Sports festival cannot cover concerns about human rights"

Status: 03.02.2022 03:32 AM

Foreign Minister Berbock has again criticized the human rights situation in China, but rejected an open diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics. However, he and Interior Minister Faisar will not travel to Beijing.

Shortly before the start of the Winter Olympics in China, Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock (Greens) renewed her criticism of Beijing. “I love the Olympics and keep my fingers crossed for our German athletes,” the minister told Funke Media Group newspapers. “At the same time, of course, I am very concerned about the human rights situation in China, which this kind of sports festival cannot cover.”

Bairbock rejected an open diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in the country. She clarified that she had agreed with the interior minister for sport, Nancy Fesser (SPD), not to travel to Beijing for the Olympic Games that opens on Friday. Chancellor Olaf Scholz also announced on ZDF that he had no intention of going to China.

Agree with Bairbock: Faiser, the home minister responsible for the Games, isn’t even traveling to Beijing.

Image: DPA

“We are discussing human rights and other very problematic issues with China at the political level,” Barbock said. “But athletes who have been preparing for the Olympic Games for years should not pay for it.”

Link key events to compliance criteria

In theory, major sporting events such as the Olympic Games or the Soccer World Cup should be linked to compliance with central criteria such as freedom of the press, human rights and working conditions, he demanded. “You can really only have big sports festivals if other people don’t have to pay for it with their lives,” Barabock explained. The Football World Cup in the Gulf state of Qatar in November and December is an example of how the pressure through the media can change. “With regard to Qatar and with regards to the many reports about poor conditions at the construction sites of football stadiums, you can also see that international attention can also be helpful and change things for the better.”

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The Beijing Winter Olympics will begin on Friday and run until February 20. The US and other Western countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and Denmark have announced a diplomatic boycott of the sporting event.

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