In 2022, the Winter Games will descend on Beijing, China’s polluted capital, giving everyone that weren’t we just here? feeling. The world can once more expect to be equally horrified and dazzled by the sheer level of control China exerts over its population.
Only one force on the planet stirred a sort of trembling adoration in China, but he’s sadly no longer president. Now, western liberalism is pathetically left trying to nag China into submission, with China mostly not even noticing. A soon-to-be failed, Republican-led attempt to boycott the Beijing Winter Games is under way that has the party split along seemingly surprising lines.
It’s the NeverTrump wing calling for a boycott, or, rather, those Republicans who the Trump base offers a chilly reception. The argument for a boycott cites those one million Uighur Muslims detained in concentration camps in China, pro-democracy crackdowns in Hong Kong, China’s treatment of Taiwan and Tibet, and other human rights abuses on the mainland.
‘We must boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China,’ former UN ambassador Nikki Haley posted on Twitter. ‘It would be a terrible loss for our athletes, but that must be weighed against the genocide occurring in China and the prospect that empowering China will lead to even greater horrors down the road.’
Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo issued a similar demand while Florida senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott signed resolutions to move the games out of China, something the International Olympic Committee shows no signs of doing. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee does not support a boycott and the Biden administration is yet to comment on the proposal.
Now, supremely-reviled Mitt Romney has jumped on board. Though he initially opposed a boycott, Romney, who headed the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, flip-flopped and now thinks the US should rule itself out of Beijing. If you want something to fail, just ask Romney to back it.
At present there is little enthusiasm to boycott the games, even in the most hawkish anti-China circles. In 1980, the Carter administration led a boycott of the Summer Games in Moscow that year, with 65 other nations joining in. Four years later, the Soviet Union retaliated by boycotting the Los Angeles games. Both were seen as largely ineffective and childish.
‘I don’t think we should be punishing athletes who have spent their entire lives training. We should go to Beijing, compete, and win,’ Sen. Ted Cruz said of the boycott, calling it a potential ‘serious mistake’.
Former Trump officials agree. ‘Staying in the Olympics can actually be a powerful vehicle to shine a light on their abuses, if we have the will,’ former Trump National Security Council official Alex Gray told Politico. ‘A boycott could backfire, but using the Games to highlight Xinjiang, Tibet, Christians, and more will be more effective as the whole world is watching.’
You’d think genocide would be a good enough reason to not reward a country with something like hosting the Olympics, but whenever the IOC is forced to comment on geopolitics they just come off looking like fruity, hand-holding globalists.
While the Uighurs are the talking point du jour regarding China’s hideousness as a nation, the problem is, I hate to say, no one in the West seems to care about the Uighurs. No matter how horrific the stories emerging from concentration camps in far-flung regions of China may be, liberals appear to find the whole thing too exhausting and foreign. American business interests in China keep the media and Democrats away from it, leaving small pockets of activists raising awareness merely because, you get the sense, they feel like they should.
Did we talk about the Uighurs at least once this quarter? someone will bring up in the board meeting. OK, good. Back to SoHo Karen.
Even the American right doesn’t truly care about the Uighurs, though they seem to be the ones who harp about it most. As usual, they are ultimately only concerned with embarrassing the left and use Uighurs as just another example of liberals’ selective outrage.
The 2008 Summer Games in Beijing kicked off with an opening ceremony that was, let’s face it, the most exquisite in modern times. Without brandishing a single weapon, it was the grandest military parade the world had ever seen. That chilling and beautiful, machine-like spectacle marked the moment China sent a clear message to the West: when, not if, they decide to start a war with us, they’re going to win.
Our most feverish autocrats salivate at having that level of control over its citizens China unveiled to the world in 2008. By contrast, the follow up in 2012 couldn’t have been more perfectly dopey. While the three capitals of the West — New York, Paris and London — duked it out to host those games, London prevailed and, in its ceremony, delivered a cheeky, self-referential puppet show that screamed late-stage empire excess. Even the logo for those games, meant to resemble graffiti, showcased what, exactly? A culture embarrassed of its former greatness now kneeling before lawlessness, crime, and degeneracy?
That year, China cleaned up in London, taking two-thirds of all medals and three-quarters of all gold medals. In fact, since joining the Summer Games, China has consistently ranked within the top four nations, except for 1988 in Seoul when it sank to 11th. China does markedly worse in the Winter Games, barely cracking the top 15 countries and only once, in Vancouver in 2010, breaking the top 10.
Then there’s that whole virus business which may make next winter a little awkward. Maybe if China had any sense of humor, which it doesn’t, they’d play into it rather than continuing to downplay their role in bringing the entire planet to its knees. A 10-story hand-sanitizer waterfall, flying nurses, an orbital, multi-pronged stadium lit up in green and shaped like a virus. I’d pay to see that.
They could get away with it too, because China DGAF what anyone thinks, a winning strategy so far. If they want someone in a camp, they’ll build it right next to an Apple factory just to rub it in our faces. We might as well schedule the next 50 years of games in various soul-crushing Chinese megacities. It’s their century now, and I, for one, am warming up to the idea of Chinese accelerationism. With Trump gone, there’s no stopping it now. The West will still be in mostly good standing if we can only rein in Big Tech’s Eastern-inspired tyranny in censorship, tracking, thought policing and social credit scores.
Despite China’s military build-up and surging economic adeptness, there’s still hope for less authoritarian-minded regions of the world in the Chinese century. China is a long way off from producing any cultural exports the world will want. In fact, they may never be able to, but they’re still trying, bless their hearts. Their government is even attempting to make Chinese wine a thing through massive subsidies and flooding the repulsive swill into the European market. Can you image showing up to dinner with a bottle of Chinese wine as anything but a joke? Actually, I’m picturing just the sort of New York Times subscriber who would do that as soon as the Style section OKs it.
Writing a strongly worded letter about concentration camps won’t do a thing and neither would a boycott. In fact, it would most likely serve to make the US look even more petty and weak compared to China. But China has a bigger problem. A society that doesn’t celebrate creativity and risk-taking may rocket to the top, the way China is, but will quickly stagnant and collapse. A by-the-book conformity culture obsessed with precision, rules, control and appropriation will always have unforeseen, gaping vulnerabilities that ultimately lead to a catastrophic downfall. That’s essentially what happened to the Soviet Union, a stunningly well-heeled populous made up entirely of the most intelligent, in-the-box thinkers on earth left completely defenseless when issues arose that weren’t addressed in the user manual.