Thursday, December 9

The United States is considering a soft boycott of the China Olympics. Now Norwegian politicians are throwing themselves on.

The United States is considering allowing anyone who does not work in sports to stay home during the Olympics in China. Now Liberal Party leader Guri Melby is asking Norway to do the same.

Biden says the administration is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in China.

The question came at an informal press conference in the White House:

– Should the US have a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in China?

“This is something we are considering,” replied US President Joe Biden.

The answer marks a new turn in the Olympic question. Such a diplomatic boycott as Biden is now considering means that the practitioners leave, but that all politicians and diplomats stay at home.

It is a strong mark against the toys. The Olympics are not only a highlight on the schedule for some sports, but also a dance floor for informal conversations and negotiations between politicians and other powerful people.


The United States has put pressure on China for what it believes is the genocide of the Muslim Uighurs. Biden goes has also gone out against China’s interference and harsh hand against Hong Kong. In addition, he has been critical of China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea.

Biden recently had a long video meeting with China’s leader, Xi Jinping. The Olympics were not discussed here, according to the White House.

– We are still looking at how our presence will be in the games, elaborated spokeswoman at the White House, Jen Psaki.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the United States should implement a soft boycott. This means that only those who work with sports leave. Politicians who choose to leave will lose theirs «Moral authority» against China, according to Pelosi.

– Sportsvasking

But what about Norway?

Liberal Party leader Guri Melby says it is time for Norway to give a clear signal to China. Her party wants a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics.

“China is a regime that commits systematic human rights violations against minorities and pro-democracy activists in its own country,” Melby said.

She further believes that China is trying to “sport wash” its own reputation by hosting the Olympics. It is a paraphrase of the term greenwashing. That is, companies launch symbolic climate initiatives to improve their own reputation, while at the same time not doing anything about the basic problem ».

– There is no reason for Norwegian politicians to contribute to a positive spotlight on a regime that systematically reduces the freedom of its own people, Melby says.

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She distinguishes between the official Norway and the athletes.

– I have the deepest respect for athletes who put in thousands of hours to represent their own country. It is not the athletes who have decided that the Olympics will be held in China, says Melby.

Melby has now asked for an assessment from the government. She has asked the following questions to Minister of Culture Anette Trettebergstuen:

“Will the Minister initiate a Norwegian diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022 to sabotage the regime’s attempts to launder its own human rights violations?”

Minister of Culture Anette Trettebergstuen is ill and could not comment on Melby’s question on Friday, but the ministry’s official says that the question will be answered in writing over the weekend.

Beijing is getting ready for the Olympics. The picture is from a park in the Chinese capital.

– Loses face

China expert Henning Kristoffersen says that the question of sports laundering is twofold. One question is the national dimension, the other the international. He is aware that China does not benefit from being an Olympic organizer internationally.

– We see that the games are a golden opportunity for critics of China to raise everything they are critical of and create debate around it, says Kristoffersen, who is a special adviser at The Governance Group and researcher at the University of Oslo,

Nationally, he is more insecure. He points out that the Communist Party has significant support at home, as non-Chinese surveys also show. Surveys from Harvard show that the party delivers well on welfare benefits, especially against the weakest. China has also handled parts of the pandemic well.

– The party does not need the Olympics to buy popularity at home, says Kristoffersen.

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– A cat ache

When Biden opens for, and Melby calls for, a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in China, the politicians end up in a cat ache, according to Kristoffersen.

In 2020 was for the first time China the country Norway imports most from. Simplified, it can be said that Norway imports cheap goods from China and can sell expensive oil and gas back to a market where China is the world’s largest buyer. Norway also exported fish worth NOK 3.9 billion in 2020 directly to China, which is far below normal due to the pandemic.

– On the one hand, it’s okay for China to produce our Christmas presents, but then we turn around when they have to host the Olympics. It is understandable if the communist parties see it as double standards. If the Norwegian delegation only consists of representatives of the sport, then it will be very unusual and a very clear mark, says Kristoffersen.

Kristoffersen says that Norway in many contexts is a small country in the world, but not when it comes to winter sports.

– Here we are actually a great power. Then it becomes important what Norway does, says Kristoffersen, who believes that it is the politicians, not the practitioners who must take responsibility in this matter.

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