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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Despite a diplomatic boycott by the United States, international leaders attended the opening ceremony

President Vladimir V. Putin was in attendance, standing from his seat and waving to Russia’s team as it approached the Bird’s Nest. Vladimir V. Putin The same might be said about the presidents of the five Central Asian countries that were once a part of the Soviet Union. The Presidents of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates attended, despite the fact that they are not renowned for their participation in winter sports. Using a dramatic veiled portrait of himself and the words “Visit China,” Pakistan’s leader, Prime Minister Imran Khan, announced his participation on Twitter.

Despite the fact that President Biden and other Western leaders said they would boycott the Beijing Games in protest of China’s human rights violations, the nation was able to draw a large enough audience at the opening ceremony on Friday to claim that the “diplomatic boycott” had been a sham.

According to a list issued by China’s foreign ministry, the presidents of 22 countries, as well as the heads of major international organisations, including the United Nations and the World Health Organization, were in attendance.

Chinese authorities observed that this number was more than the 15 who attended the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year, but it was far lower than the 80 who flew to Beijing for the 2008 Games.

“The United States is trying everything in its power to prevent the Winter Olympics from taking place in Beijing, but they just want to come to Beijing to support them!” said a victorious commentator on the Chinese official television station, CCTV.

The contrasting lists of global leaders who went and those who did not reflect some of the geopolitical differences that have taken place as a result of the intensifying rivalry between the United States and China, according to the Associated Press.

Officials from the White House have said that Biden is not planning a larger boycott; nonetheless, numerous other Western governments have stated that they would not send formal representatives to the conference. The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Japan were among the countries represented. Other nations also refused to send representatives, citing the pandemic’s health constraints as a reason for their decision.

There were more than 80,000 people in attendance at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium on Friday night, including some of China’s closest friends, such as Russia and Pakistan, as well as other countries that have lately found themselves reliant on China’s economic or geopolitical relations.

In an analysis published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, analyst Scott Kennedy pointed out that all of the countries that did not show up were democracies.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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