Sensemaker Live: should Team GB boycott the Winter Olympics?


The summer Games in Tokyo will scarcely have finished when the sporting attention of the world will move back to Beijing, which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics in February. But UK / Chinese relations have changed somewhat since 2008. Chinese changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system have been seen by many as a direct attack on democracy. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced sanctions against China for “gross and egregious” human rights abuses against the Uighur people, although Liu Xiaoming, China’s UK ambassador, has dismissed reports of these abuses as “fake”. In retaliation, the Chinese government has now announced sanctions against several British nationals. Should the sporting world just turn a blind eye? Is it sensible, or even safe, for Team GB to compete in Beijing? Could a boycott just compound rising sinophobia in the West?

editor and invited experts

Ceri Thomas
Editor and Partner

Dr Sophie Richardson
China director at Human Rights Watch

Jules Boykoff
Author of Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics