The Olympic Games Return to China, in a Changed World


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Much has modified since China final hosted the Olympics, throughout the 2008 Summer Games. Those Games had been extensively seen as vastly enhancing China’s worldwide status. But the 2022 Winter Games have put a highlight on the nation’s human-rights abuses, most notably the present genocide in opposition to Uyghurs and Kazakhs. The U.S. and different nations are boycotting the Games in a partial method, leaving authorities officers dwelling whereas permitting athletes to take part, to keep away from a bitter disappointment like that in 1980, when America didn’t compete in Moscow. The impact of those actions on China could also be restricted, however the tensions could possibly be very troublesome for athletes to navigate. Peter Hessler, for a few years The New Yorker’s China correspondent, asks David Remnick, “When an athlete says something about the internment camps in Xinjiang and the oppression of Muslim people in China, what is the Chinese response going to be?” “The I.O.C. has really left them out there. The I.O.C. . . . basically just washed their hands of it. It’s really up to the athletes,” he notes. “A lot of people I’ve talked to are very concerned about this.” At the identical time, the sports activities reporter Louisa Thomas notes that these Games might garner little American help or consideration. The delayed Tokyo Games final 12 months “were already the least-watched Games in history,” and there are few big-name U.S. athletes for NBC to promote. “I even have a lot of friends who have no idea there’s about to be an Olympics,” Thomas says. “Which is extraordinary.”

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