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UN Chief to Attend Beijing Games Despite Boycotts

Students pose for a photo with the Olympic flame and a mannequin wearing the uniform for the Olympic torch relay during an event at the Beijing University of Posts and Communications in Beijing, Dec. 9, 2021.

Despite a growing number of Western countries announcing diplomatic boycotts of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres, will attend the Games.

“The Secretary-General received an invitation from the International Olympic Committee to attend the Beijing Winter Games, and he has accepted it,” said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

FILE - Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres.
FILE - Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres.

“I mean, as you know, I think his two immediate predecessors have attended almost every Olympic Game since at least 2002.”

Citing China’s human rights abuses, the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and Lithuania will not be sending diplomatic delegations to the Games.

The boycott allows the nations to send athletic delegations to the Games while refusing to send any high-ranking officials or dignitaries as an official delegation.

Human rights groups have called on nations to fully boycott the Beijing Winter Games over China’s human rights abuses, including the detention of millions of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province and the crackdown on pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong.

Beijing has denounced the boycotts as “posturing” and has vowed to retaliate with unspecified “countermeasures” against the United States over its decision to stage a diplomatic boycott of the Games, which run from February 4 to 20.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.