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Should Christians Be Boycotting The Olympics?

January 26, 2022

What is going on with all these countries diplomatically boycotting the Olympic Games? Although the games are about the world coming together and realizing that what unites us is far more important that what divides us, unfortunately we live in a society where countries have agendas and the political standings can change on a dime. As many western countries refuse to send any political leaders to the games, we want to give you a quick version of what this means, why it is happening and the main implications. 

Why the Boycott?

There are three main things that the Western World politically disagrees with when it comes to China’s actions:

The first, is the most covered in current journalism and that is how China is taking Hong Kong. Hong Kong was a former British enclave and it was put in the treaty that eventually it would be given back to China, in 1997, the territory was given to China as a semi-autonomous region which is fancy language for has different rules and regulations than the Chinese mainland. Under the treaty China would not bring mainland rules and regulations to Hong Kong until much later. However, China is trying to take it back earlier than the treaties intended.

Second, the Western world disagrees with the handling of the outbreak of COVID-19, there was no initial effort to contain COVID and information was withheld as activists of transparency have been taken into custody.

The third is the most controversial and that is China’s alleged labor camps. The basic rundown is that The Western Countries have compiled strong evidence to believe that there are massive labor camps similar to the ones run by Nazi Germany in territories of China. China denies any claims to these work camps and this issue has created tension over the years. 

Why Are Western Countries Not Doing Anything?

China is not a country that anyone wants to mess with. Coming from a country known for it’s poverty and communism has transformed into one of the worlds largest superpowers. This turn around is no east feature.

Because of China’s great success, strong-arming China is not really an option. As most of us know China is one of the leaders in global shipping and providing the rest of the world with supplies. If you look around your house, a vast amount of products will be made in China, and this is no coincidence.

In the Chinese system the labor costs of creating products is cheap and because of this it is more efficient to export Chinese products all around the world than it is for countries to make these products domestically. China could make the costs of exporting goods to the Western World near impossible by raising fees and taxes. This way many countries would be cut off from essential products and over time become less advance. In addition, other countries have great political relationships with China, so going after China automatically involves other nations getting involved. It is a guaranteed way to sever ties to many countries that would be of the Western World’s best interest to improve relationships with. 

What is a “Diplomatic Boycott”?

This boycott does not mean that the athletes are robbed of their chance with competing unlike the Boycott of the Moscow Games of 1980 and the Russian Boycott of the Los Angeles Games in 1984. An entire boycott has ended in very precarious waters, athletes entire dreams become secondary and it sends a strong message to China that could create the response that would lead to exactly what is mentioned above, Chian creating a response that negatively affects the western world. By simply having political leaders absent for the games it is less risky of a response and civilians do not get in the way. It is seen as a compromise that communicates a disagreement on China’s actions but is not so intense that punishment or repercussions become inevitable. 

So now that we know about the boycott what does this actually accomplish? Well, to be honest not much. It’s a softer message that is significantly much less risky compared to an entire boycott. But in terms of the negative things that could happen, it’s the only card that the Western Nations can play to show a disagreement. Although the Western World is trying to show the need for China to rewrite some actions, the stunt is really just a formality in the long run. Chances are it is not a stunt that will incentivize China to change her actions. After the games, thing should remain ultimately the same. It has good intentions for the Western agenda and the diplomats know that this is highly unlikely to create a change but it’s better to take a shot than to not even try at all. 

What should Christians do?

This situation presents a huge ethical dilemma and how should we as Christians go about this; of course, it is our duty to speak out even if there is any chance that human rights violations are present, however getting too involved could lead to a greater evil.

However, just because the Western World will carry out this stunt, it does not mean that sustainable change will happen, in fact, most likely thing swill stay the same.

So the better question to ask is: is this stunt even worth it? Maybe this is an issue that we could find alternatives resolutions for but regardless, it looks like things will ultimately stay the same in regards to China’s relations with the Western Superpowers, despite what course of action takes place.

Take time to pray for those being harmed by in actions, read and educate yourself on practical ways to help, and be reminded that we serve a good God with an ultimate plan of love.

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