With the Winter Olympics fast approaching, more people are looking towards China and its capital city Beijing, which will be the host for the 2022 Winter Olympics. But despite the event beginning in just two months, many are calling for another country to host the Winter Olympic Games. True, the Winter Olympics are less popular than the Summer Olympics and many usually don’t mind which country hosts them. But apathy soon turned to concern when China was chosen to be the host of the 2022 games. Most are aware of the human rights violations going on in China and feel that it is wrong to reward China with such an opportunity. But the painful truth is, China was chosen as an Olympic host for its money and not its ethics.


Today, China is the only developed country that still violates human rights. The Chinese government have the power to give these rights to the people, but they refuse as they want to maintain their control over the nation. The right to equality and the freedom of speech are the two main human right violations in China. The Chinese live in a very unequal society, where a small upper class control a large working class – making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Perhaps more disturbingly, China has been undergoing a religious and ethnic cleansing which has involved torture and death. More than a million Muslims are held in high secure facilities in Xinjiang alone. This group of Muslims, known as Uyghurs, have also been subjected to forced labour, torture, sexual assault, and prison sentences. In short, this group has been tortured for just being themselves. The US and other countries have accused China of crimes against humanity, but China was still given the honour of being an Olympic host. In general, most countries refuse to take punitive actions against China, fearing economic and political retribution. All countries do is condemn China, but this doesn’t stop China from continuing to violate human rights.


China’s heavy censorship has also become an issue, especially recently, with the disappearance of Peng Shuai. The only reason why the President of the IOC (International Olympic Committee), Thomas Bach, was able to speak to Shuai was because of his high involvement in the Olympics. While most countries were asking to speak to Shuai, it was Bach that was allowed the video call because the Chinese government wanted to make sure that they had the IOC on their side. Since the IOC is the body that decides the location of the Olympics, it could’ve been possible for the Committee to relocate the Olympics somewhere else as punishment. The Chinese government knew that they had to satisfy the Committee to ensure they would remain as host, which they did. The heavy censorship also means that all government opposition is silenced, meaning that if the government were to violate any more human rights, the IOC wouldn’t hear about it and would remain satisfied in allowing China to remain as host. The Chinese government remain determined to host the Winter Olympics, no matter how high the human cost.


Many would also argue that Beijing shouldn’t host the Olympics considering the recent mutation of the COVID-19 virus. While there have been no reported cases of the Omicron variant in China (yet), it is only a matter of time until there will be. The presence of the mutation in Hong Kong has been particularly concerning for China given its proximity to the country. Some would argue that the Winter Olympics should be postponed – it’s already a hassle to organise testing for the athletes and some athletes may not even be present depending on the situation in their respective countries. Others may worry that China, like Japan with Tokyo , will bring in an authoritarian lockdown on Beijing’s  citizens just so that the Olympics can be held. Although Beijing is a populous city and a form of lockdown will eventually be necessary, a world event shouldn’t be more important than the freedoms of the Chinese population.


China will still host the Olympics, no matter what arguments are given. Put it simply: it’s because of money. Although Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics 14 years ago, by favouring China once more, the IOC is helping to improve political and economic relations between China and other countries. This makes it less likely for China to impose tariffs on its products and vice versa and allows for some degree of cooperation between countries no matter how insignificant. Also, as China hosted the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, it already has all the facilities necessary, meaning that the IOC don’t need to provide the country with as much money. For an organization that forks out millions every two years, this makes Beijing an even more appealing location.


There is also no way that the IOC would ban Beijing from hosting the Winter Olympics two months before the opening ceremony. Not only would the IOC appear disorganised, but the Republic of China would become angry and humiliated. International repercussions would surely follow – the imposition of tariffs by China, total uncooperating for any political matters and the potential boycotting of the next Olympics. China is a powerful and proud country. China was given the position of being host in exchange for political and economic cooperation. Of course, no treaty was ever signed, but most relationships between countries have several invisible treaties between them.


The Olympic Games were first set up to promote cooperation and unity. Today, they have become political, now more than ever.