Swiss government will not attend Beijing Winter Olympics
The Swiss government has announced that it will not be attending the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. The announcement reversed a statement made two weeks ago, meaning that the games - due to start next week - will not have an official government presence.
168 Swiss athletes competing at Beijing Winter Olympics
Unlike other western countries like the US and UK that have chosen to diplomatically boycott the games, the reason Swiss delegates will not be attending is the current COVID situation in Switzerland and the restrictions imposed by Chinese health authorities. The government said these restrictions made meetings and contact with athletes impossible.
Instead, the government said they will “cheer on the Swiss athletes from home.” Switzerland will be sending 168 athletes to the Winter Olympics, with a target of 15 medals for the alpine nation. 26 of the athletes have already won a medal at the Olympics before, while 93 will be making their games debut.
Switzerland hesitant to join diplomatic boycott
Organisations within the country have called for Switzerland to boycott the games over China’s treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and democracy activists in Hong Kong, but a spokesperson for the government stressed that the move was not politically motivated.
National Councillor Fabian Molina said he supports a diplomatic boycott of the games, questioning, “What would be the effect if everyone is there applauding the Games without raising any concerns about human rights in China?” The games are due to start on February 4.