Taiwan says government officials will boycott Beijing Olympics
Taiwan has announced it will not send government officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics, calling on China to not use politics to “interfere” with the two-week event or “belittle” the island, Reuters reported.
In a statement on Tuesday, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said its athletes are still slated to compete at the event, adding the island’s Olympic committee will lead a delegation to China and will handle matters related to the Games.
“In addition, considering the limited number of participants and the previous precedent that our side’s officials were often absent, no official representatives will be sent,” the council said in a statement.
According to its Olympic committee, four Taiwanese athletes have already qualified to participate in the Games, Reuters noted.
“We call on this year’s organisers to abide by the ‘Olympic Charter’ and not use political factors to interfere with the competition and suppress and belittle our side. Relevant government units will also be prepared to respond to various emergencies,” the council concluded.
A senior Taiwanese official told Reuters that authorities have feared Chinese officials could downgrade its status by putting their athletes along with those from China’s “special administrative region” during the opening ceremony. Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan, though the island has been a self-ruled democracy for decades.
Taiwan joins other countries, including the U.S., who have announced diplomatic boycotts of the Olympics due to concerns of human rights violations in China.
Speaking to the media Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he opposed the diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics, siding with China, adding his country supports the Games’ values of “equality and fairness.”
“I consider the main goal of these competitions to attract as many citizens as possible to sport and the strengthening of friendship between peoples. These approaches are shared by the organizers of the upcoming Games, our Chinese friends,” Putin told media outlets.
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