French President Macron calls diplomatic boycott of Olympics 'insignificant and symbolic'

The French president said he does not believe sports should be politicized

Updated: December 10, 2021 - 1:24pm

France President Emmanuel Macron is confirmed his country will not be joining in the diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

"I don't think we should politicize these topics, especially if it's to take steps that are insignificant and symbolic," he said Friday. "To be clear: You either have a complete boycott, and don't send athletes, or you try to change things with useful actions."

Earlier in the week, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said his country would not be joining with other nations in the diplomatic boycott of the games.

"Sports is a world in itself, which must be protected from political interference," he said.

The U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, and Lithuania have announced that their countries will not be sending officials to the games due to genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur population in China's Xinjiang region. However, athletes representing each of five countries will still compete. 

Macron did specify that France will stand alongside the International Olympic Committee in its effort to protect athletes, which is likely a reference to the disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who says she was sexual assaulted by China's former vice premier, Zhang Gaoli. 

The 2024 summer Olympic games are scheduled to be held in Paris, France.