2. Boycotting the 2022 Olympics
While a full-blown boycott of Beijing 2022 seems unlikely, there are growing calls for a diplomatic boycott — meaning that governments refuse to send a formal delegation of officials to attend the games.
Why it matters: A diplomatic boycott would allow athletes to compete while blunting some of the soft power that hosting an Olympics can bring.
What's happening: Some Uyghur and Tibetan advocacy groups are banding together to urge governments to implement a diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022.
- "The International Olympic Committee won't speak to you if you don’t want the games to happen. If you’re trying to boycott the games, broadcasters won’t speak to you, athletes won’t speak to you, sponsors won’t speak to you," said Pete Irwin, a program officer at the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
- So as a more realistic alternative, Irwin said, they're asking governments to "make an easy choice not to send a high-level official to the games."
The IOC itself is also facing ire. Mandie McKeown, executive director of the International Tibet Network, which is also advocating for a diplomatic boycott, told Axios she is "hugely disappointed" with the IOC for refusing to address China's massive human rights violations.
- In a July 2015 letter addressed to the International Tibet Network in response to the group's concerns, the IOC communications director wrote that "with regards to Beijing 2022, assurances were provided" regarding human rights, labor rights and the right to demonstrate.
- McKeown said she has repeatedly asked the IOC to provide evidence that such assurances were made and what those assurances exactly were, but the IOC has never provided this information, McKeown said.
"The IOC knows the Chinese authorities are arbitrarily detaining Uyghurs and other Muslims, expanding state surveillance, and silencing numerous peaceful critics," Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson said last week.
- "Its failure to publicly confront Beijing's serious human rights violations makes a mockery of its own commitments and claims that the Olympics are a 'force for good.'"
Of note: Individual countries have boycotted past Olympics, but there's also precedent for the IOC taking action, itself. From 1964 to 1988, it banned South Africa over its apartheid policies.
What to watch: Hu Xijin, the influential editor of the Chinese state-backed newspaper Global Times, wrote on Twitter that China would "seriously sanction" any country that boycotted the 2022 games.