India on Friday joined Russia to extend support to China to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, even as the United States recently indicated that it was considering a diplomatic boycott of the international sporting event to protest human rights violations in the communist country.
Though the relations between New Delhi and Beijing hit a new low over the 19-month-long military stand-off along the disputed boundary between the two nations, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar pledged New Delhi’s support to Beijing during a virtual meeting with his Russian and Chinese counterparts, Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, on Friday.
“The ministers expressed their support to China to host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games,” according to a joint statement issued after the virtual meeting of the RIC (Russia-India-China) Foreign Ministers.
The Chinese Government will host the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Beijing from March 4-13 next year.
President Joe Biden of the United States recently stated that his administration was considering a diplomatic boycott of the sporting event to protest human rights violations by the Chinese Government – be it on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong or on the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the Tibetans in Tibet.
The Biden administration is planning to allow US sportspersons to take part in the games in China, but it will not send a delegation of officials to Beijing. Australia, Canada and Germany may join the US in staging the diplomatic boycott to send out a message to China. Lithuania also recently raised the issue within the European Union, arguing that the 27-nation-bloc should take a common stand on the issue in coordination with the US.
What added to the momentum to the call for a diplomatic boycott of the games in Beijing was the recent disappearance of Peng Shuai, a celebrity tennis star of China. Peng disappeared for a few days after she publicly accused China’s senior Vice Premier, Zhang Gaoli, of sexually assaulting her. She reappeared in a tennis tournament in Beijing on November 21 last, amid global concerns about her safety and well-being.
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