Published on 15 Jul 2021

Boycott may dash China's goal for Winter Olympics

The Straits Times, page A16

The Winter Olympics in Beijing next February was meant to be another opportunity for China to project soft power and show the world how far it has come since it hosted the Summer Games in 2008. But moves by some countries to boycott the event are threatening to dampen its ambitions. Last week, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of member states declining invitations for government representatives and diplomats to attend the Games. Experts say Beijing remains adamant about staging the Winter Olympics as a way of showcasing its soft power, which it has been keen to project. 

Asst Prof Dylan Loh from NTU's Public Policy and Global Affairs Division said the Games would offer "China a respite from increasingly public and visible criticism". 

Asst Prof Benjamin Ho, who is with the China Programme at RSIS, said: "If we take the 2008 Beijing Olympics as China's coming-out party, then the 2022 Winter Olympics can be said to be China's 'Covid-19-clear' party."

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