While China blames the western countries for politicising the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, a Canada-based think-tank in its report has stated that the games were sought to be exploited for political purposes by the host. After a set of US-led Western countries observed a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, China had accused the West of politicising the games.
However, the event was politicised by China itself to extend its political influence, reported a Canada-based think-tank, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS). Notably, the US along with Western countries such as the UK, Canada and Australia observed a diplomatic boycott of the games, citing human rights abuses perpetrated against minorities in China.
However, diplomatic representatives from 70 countries prominently from Central Asia, Africa, Asia, Gulf, Latin America and Eastern Europe attended the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics held in China and 30 of these were the Heads of the States or Royal families, the think tank reported.
The Chinese side used the opportunity to its advantage as it organized several bilateral meetings between President Xi Jinping and the Royals or Heads of States, aimed at enhancing Beijing’s political clout, providing space to anti-West countries, promoting ‘Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)’, pushing China’s politico-economic agenda and develop strategic relationships. The agenda of these meetings, followed by joint statements and signing bilateral agreements, was the cooperation and coordination in the development of the BRI, added the think-tank in the report.
According to some analysts, the meetings were important for Xi Jinping to increase his sphere of influence and stifle internal dissent cropping as a result of differences between Xi and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the think tank reported. The crackdown on big business houses and challenges emerging out of intra-party dissatisfaction and economic disparity among the Chinese people have raised concerns regarding Xi’s leadership. The reported internal dissent in China prompted Xi to use the Beijing Olympics to carry forward his agenda of increasing his sphere of influence, added the report.
By focusing on his neighbourhood, including Russia and South America, Xi has made his intent clear to challenge the US-led West in changing the existing world order, said the think-tank.