What’s Wrong With The Olympic Games in China? Everything.


Thomas Krukar, Editor-in-Chief

As the Olympics kick off this month in Beijing, China, many questions are being asked about the safety and morality of holding the games in the communist state of China. Over the last several years, China has been at the forefront of discussions about human rights violations. On top of the lack of individual freedom held by Chinese citizens, the country has also been under the microscope for its mishandling and misinformation regarding the origin and spread of the deadly coronavirus. Just recently, it was discovered that Beijing has been heavily lying about the number of Covid-19 cases in the city in the leadup to the Olympic Games. So, with all the recent distrust surrounding the Chinese government, why is one of the biggest sporting events in the world being held in the country? 

The most obvious group to blame for the selection of Beijing as host of the Olympics is the International Olympic Committee, referred to as the IOC. The IOC is pretty much solely responsible for choosing the host of the games, as members of the group vote to decide what country will host the Olympics. According to the IOC’s website, “the host city is elected by a majority of the votes cast by secret ballot.”

Many factors are taken into consideration by the IOC in choosing which city will host the games, including the city’s infrastructure and the ability of the city to provide accommodations to tourists who visit to watch the games firsthand. The climate of the city is also heavily considered by the IOC, as many events in both the Summer and Winter Olympics are held outdoors.

After reviewing the criteria for a city to be chosen as host of the Olympics, it is understandable that Beijing was picked by the IOC. Beijing is the second largest city in China with a population of over 18 million people, and there is no doubt that the city provides the infrastructure to accommodate both athletes and fans.

But when deciding who should host the games, a city’s landscape and size should not be the only factors considered. As a communist nation, China has tense relationships with many democratic countries, including the United States. It’s well-known that Chinese citizens lack the individual freedom that the U.S. prides itself on, and numerous human rights violations have only further worsened China’s reputation among other global powers.

The IOC was well-aware of China’s awful reputation concerning human rights when it made the decision to award Beijing as host of the 2022 Winter Olympics. If the IOC truly cared about taking a stand for equality and justice, as they claim, they would never have awarded China the Winter Olympics. There are plenty of countries and cities that are deserving of hosting the games, and they have been ignored because of the greed and selfishness of the IOC.

To be fair, the IOC is not the only group or organization that has capitulated to the Chinese government and Chinese dollars. One could make the solid argument that it’s very hard to turn down the kind of money China has to offer. But from a moral and ethical standpoint, business with China is just wrong. Think about how many human rights violations have been committed by the Chinese government that we don’t even know about and may never be aware of. The immoral acts that make news headlines are only a small percentage of a large number of atrocities committed by the Chinese government. But all these human rights violations are ignored because China can make you rich, and therefore powerful.

Many companies and businesses in the United States have put their support behind the Black Lives Matter movement and committed to “changing the system” in the future. But these same companies and businesses then go do business with China, while being scared to death to even remotely criticize the Chinese government in fear of hurting their relationship with China.

By awarding China the Olympics, the IOC is making a clear decision in placing money over ethics. Although the decision is disappointing, one cannot say that they are surprised considering the corruption of the IOC and other global sports groups, such as FIFA. These organizations got to be as powerful as they are because they value money over everything else. But knowing how money-hungry the IOC is, could it be the responsibility of wealthy democratic nations, such as the United States, to have a stronger influence on the IOC? Even though the decision to choose Beijing as host ultimately resides with the IOC, it is not unreasonable to look at the United States and other European nations and ask why they could not do more to prevent the IOC from choosing China.

Many people across the globe, including U.S. president Joe Biden, have voiced their displeasure with the games being held in China. Some have gone as far to suggest a boycott of the games, but this option hurts the athletes competing more than it helps send a message to China.

Competing in a Chinese Olympics is not an endorsement of communism or the Chinese government, and any political questions should not be asked towards athletes in the games, as they are there strictly to compete and represent their country. By boycotting the Olympics, athletes who worked their entire lives towards competing in the games would be punished, while those actually at fault for the games being held in China would go unpunished.

On top of the issues concerning the lack of freedom China gives its citizens, the country has proved that it cannot be trusted in the realm of Covid-19. Since the discovery of the virus in Wuhan, China late in 2019, more evidence has suggested that China lied about how the virus first spread within their country. This is not to say that the Chinese government purposely created the virus and intended for it to have deadly effects, but what seems to be certain is that China was not 100% honest about the origin and danger of the virus when it first started wreaking havoc.

Had China given the rest of the globe more transparency regarding what caused the outbreak and how deadly the virus was, there is no doubt that countries across the world would have been better equipped to handle the virus, meaning not as many lives would have been lost. Some politicians and prominent figures have been hesitant to blame China for the outbreak of the virus, many of whom have their own financial interests in mind.

But don’t get it twisted, China deserves a large amount of blame for their lack of honesty in the beginning of the virus’ outbreak. And saying this does not make one racist and discriminatory towards Chinese people. When people talk about China deserving blame for the Covid-19 outbreak, they aren’t blaming the Chinese people, but rather the Chinese government.

Obviously, at the time of the IOC’s decision to award Beijing as host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Covid-19 was not a deadly virus that consumed everyday life for people around the world. But China’s mishandling and dishonesty concerning the virus is confirmation that the Olympics should have never been awarded to Beijing. If they lied about the deadliness and spread of Covid-19, isn’t it very possible that they lied to the IOC about their preparedness and ability to host the Olympics? 

Although the Olympics being awarded to China is disappointing, it should not surprise anyone. Time and again, companies and wealthy individuals have chosen money over morality when it comes to China. I guess justice and fairness only matter when financial gain is not at stake. Just like the NBA, the IOC could not withstand the temptation of Chinese dollars. But if powerful organizations such as the NBA and IOC continue to give in to Chinese money, China will continue to get away with awful human rights infractions.                                                                      

Currently, China is too powerful economically for enough people to be willing to take a stand against them. But if enough businesses and people decide to cut off business with the country, their economic power and global influence will soon diminish. So the question is, who’s willing to be brave enough to take a stand against China and say enough is enough? One thing we do know is that it won’t be the IOC because, to the IOC, any action is justified if you can give them the right amount of money.