Netherlands will not send government delegation to Beijing Winter Olympics
The Netherlands will not send an official government delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympics next month, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to ANP. The Cabinet decided not to send a delegation because no Dutch spectators will be allowed to be present, just like during the Summer Games in Tokyo,
King Willem-Alexander previously announced he would not attend the event for the same reason. The Dutch government’s decision was made on Friday during the Council of Ministers meeting.
Additionally, coronavirus restrictions made it difficult to arrange bilateral talks with China on substantive issues during the athletic competition. It would be challenging to discuss the Dutch government’s “major concerns about the human rights situation in a meaningful way” with the host country, the spokesperson said.
Most European Union countries will not send a government delegation to the Games in China. The Netherlands discussed the matter with the other Member States in recent weeks. Almost half of the Tweede Kamer members said it did not want to send an official delegation to China because of human rights violations there.
Last month, the U.S. government announced it would not send official representatives, noting the Chinese treatment of the Uyghur population, a predominately Muslim ethnic minority as one of its reasons. After that, other countries, including Australia, also announced that they would not send an official delegation.
The Winter Olympics will begin in the Chinese capital on February 4, and will continue for 16 days.
Reporting by ANP