Czechia to join the diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics

Players of Czech Republic arrive for their women's ice hockey training session at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
By Lucie Ctverakova
3 Min Read

The Czech government has joined the growing number of European countries and the United States in boycotting the Winter Olympics in Beijing, with Prime Minister Petr Fiala confirming that no government officials will fly to China to commemorate the event.

“At a meeting with the chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee, Jiří Kejval, and vice-chairman Libor Varhaník, I confirmed that neither I nor anyone else from the government will go to the Beijing Olympics,” Fiala confirmed in a social media post on Twitter.

“The Czech Republic will thus join most countries of the European Union and the United States, which will not send representatives to the Olympics,” he added.

Fiala had previously announced that the chairman of the National Sports Agency, Filip Neusser, will not fly to the Olympic Games either.

“I stated that behind my decision not to fly to China are reservations about the organization. The Winter Olympics are organized by Beijing where it has never snowed, and it is the first city to host the Winter and Summer Games within 14 years,” he noted in an interview a week ago.

Czech ambassador earlier supported the Olympics

Support for the Olympic Games in China was expressed last year by Ambassador of the Czech Republic to China Vladimír Tomšík, who allegedly did so at the request of President Miloš Zeman.

“The President (Miloš Zeman) told me that if he could not attend the Winter Olympics, he would ask me to use all my efforts to support the Winter Olympics as ambassador,” said Tomšík in an interview that appeared in Chinese on the Beijing Daily website.

For the Chinese Global Times newspaper, which reported on the support of the Czech ambassador on Twitter, Tomšík said that Zeman is “undoubtedly a friend of China.”

At the beginning of January, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský asked Ambassador Tomšík to refrain from making similar statements.

“I immediately called him and asked him to refrain from making such statements, and we had it out with each other,” he said.

Some Western countries have previously stated that they will not send any government officials to the Olympics. Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and Denmark have all joined the United States. They justify the diplomatic boycott after expressing grave concerns about human rights violations in China, for example, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

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