Journalists watch an exhibit at the exhibition center for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in Yaoqing District on February 5, 2021 in Beijing, China.
Kevin Freyer | Getty Images
Countries and companies outside China face increasing pressure to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year. But China will not respond indifferently, said political risk adviser Eurasia Group.
“Western governments and companies face increasing pressure from China̵7;s human rights advocates and political critics to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics,” according to Eurasia Group analysts.
The competition will take place from the 4th to the 20th of February.
“China will punish countries that boycott games with political sanctions and retaliation for trade.” But there will be more violence in the situation of boycotting athletes, ‘they said in a report released Thursday.
“Campaigners have focused on Beijing’s targeted crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang, which some Western governments have called” the “anti-terrorism of the Uighurs.” “Genocide,” said the report, “a call to avoid what activists say” is a “genocide”. The ‘genocide game’ will grow as the opening ceremony draws closer, increasing the risk for governments, corporations and investors whether they decide to boycott or not. ”
Last month, the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States released a joint statement accusing the Chinese government of making “Extensive suppression programs” against Uighurs, including prison camps, forced labor and forced sterilization.
China has repeatedly denied allegations of forced labor and other cruelty in Xinjiang. Last month, the foreign ministry called the claim: “Malicious lies” designed to “Damaging China” and “Destroying China’s Development”
Businesses are in a trance too.
In late March, H&M faced a backlash in China in a statement, a report from last year in which the Swedish retailer said. “Extremely concerned” from the report of forced labor in Xinjiang.
Supporters of Olympic sanctions claim that “It is necessary to punish China for systematic discrimination against ethnic minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang, a crackdown on political freedom in Hong Kong and hostility to self-government in Taiwan,” the Eurasia report said.
Three types of boycott
Eurasia outlined three possible situations: diplomatic sanctions, the boycott of athletes, known as “An unusual situation”
1. Diplomatic boycott
The most likely scenario – with a 60% probability – is for the US to join at least one other major Western country in the Games’ diplomatic sanctions.
“The diplomatic sanctions are set here as downgrading or not sending government representatives to the Olympics and taking other advanced actions to deny Beijing as a host,” analysts explained.
Eurasia said those likely to participate in diplomatic sanctions would be the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, where some European countries are likely to take part.
However, in Asia, US allies such as Japan, India and South Korea have “More complex political dynamics” or deep economic ties with China – were not expected to join such sanctions.
The diplomatic approach is the least extreme situation according to Eurasia.
2. Boycott of athletes
In this scenario, which is 30% probable, at least one western country can stop its athletes from participating in the competition by applying political pressure within the country. Economic sanctions are meant to ban US viewers, broadcasters and supporters.
“Sports and economic sanctions, which are hard for audiences to ignore, will force more intense retaliation from Beijing that could involve a diplomatic halt and more widespread consumer sanctions against Western brands.” Eurasia analysts said.
This is an unusual situation where tensions between the West and China have eased, and there will be It was “a non-violent political statement about the game” but there was no official sanctions, analysts said, saying it was “a” non-violent political statement “. “Boycott lite”
It is the least likely situation and only a 10% chance of that will happen, they said, adding: “Right now there is not much reason for optimism about the Chinese way of relations – West”
Here, the head of state may refuse to attend the game and cite scheduling conflicts or other non-political excuses. But the sanctions will not be announced and the standpoint of a united West will not be presented, ”the report said.
Blowback from China?
The boycott of the Olympic Games will The “cut of any soft power dividends” that Chinese President Xi Jinping hopes to receive from the event, which makes Beijing a “smart dividend payout”, is expected to be a “cut of dividends.” “A platform to promote global presence among domestic audiences and create a positive image for billions of international audiences around the world,” Eurasia analysts said.
“Beijing is almost retaliating against countries involved in the sanctions,” analysts said. “Beijing’s direct response to diplomatic sanctions is likely to be mutual sanctions on Western events and sanctions against prominent supporters of sanctions.”
More and more consumer businesses outside of China are trying to balance it out, projecting a picture of concerns about human rights on consumers outside of China, on the one hand, while trying to avoid a market shutdown. Big Chinese on the other side
“If the company doesn’t boycott the game, it risks reputational damage to Western consumers. But if that’s the case, it’s at risk of being shut down from the Chinese market, ”analysts said.
Due to the international reputation of the game, retaliation in China may It was “even worse,” removing H & M’s current trade presence on China’s internet, they said.
Still, analysts say most businesses are likely to opt in to the Olympics because “The potential costs of losing access to the Chinese market may outweigh concerns about the backlash for Western consumers,” which Eurasia predicts will be short.
– CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.