Why a Beijing Boycott Failed

Calls for leaders and athletes to stay away from the Beijing Games in protest over China’s human rights violations and activities in Africa seemed to have momentum just a few months ago. Why is no one listening anymore?

Vivienne Walt writing in Time activists knew the calls were vain to begin with :

Activist groups pushing for a boycott have found themselves relatively isolated, and most recognized from the outset that a stay-away from the Games was unlikely. The Olympics are viewed today by most governments as an international institution that brings countries together across all differences, allowing them to express their shared humanity in friendly athletic competition; making the Games conditional on the politics of the moment would threaten the future of the Olympics themselves. So, activists looking to press China on its human rights record were forced to be more flexible.

As Walt goes on to note, after several decades of near continuous boycotts, no Olympics has been boycotted since North Korea and Cuba refused to send athletes to the Seoul Games in 1988.


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