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Chinese tennis player’s plight increases pressure on Joe Biden to snub Beijing Winter Olympics

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China’s grim treatment of tennis star Peng Shuai increases pressure on Joe Biden to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The US president has previously said he is considering a diplomatic snub of the games, a move that would allow American athletes to compete but would see officials stay away from the games to protest China’s human rights violations.

Republican and Democratic members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have called for a boycott.

In fact, Biden has for many months come under increasing pressure to make a strong statement on the growing authoritarianism and repression exhibited by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his attempts to extinguish democracy in Hong Kong, amid growing threats against Taiwan. and concentration camps for Muslims. in northwest China

While the statistic of one million Uyghurs working in labor camps horrifies activists, the Peng tragedy has really put Beijing’s aversion to human rights in the spotlight.

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Like most genuinely repressive regimes, Beijing is good at bullying but totally bad at public relations. The media blackout that followed Pengs’ tweet, in which she accused former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli of sexual misconduct, had the unwanted effect of focusing the world’s attention on her plight and rekindling calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics.

As fury mounts around Peng’s case, right-wing Republicans such as Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz have pushed for a full boycott of the Games by the United States.

Nikki Haley, formerly Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, also called for a total boycott. She said participating would send a message that America was ready to turn a blind eye to the genocide, in reference to the suppression of Chinese Uyghurs.

The Beijing Winter Olympics are Xi Jinpings Games, said Xu Guoqi, a historian at the University of Hong Kong. The Washington Post. As such, the US rebuff will carry a lot of diplomatic weight.

The Womens Tennis Association is calling to hold China to account. Small sports, for which the Winter Olympics are particularly important, will not want a boycott.

But the bigger issue is whether a boycott will have the desired effect of influencing Beijing for the better or will simply increase animosity between China and the West at a time when tensions over trade and security are already over. dangerously high. The moral argument is that China should not get away with its treatment of Peng or its brutalization of a million Uyghurs.

But the West will have to face the likelihood that Xi Jinping, who recently placed himself on a pedestal with Mao Zedong by recording his own version of CCP history, will not bow.

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