The White House announces US diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022

The White House announces US diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022

As a protest against China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the Biden administration will not send an official US delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Athletes from the United States will be permitted to compete in the Olympics, but the administration will not send any government officials to the games. The Paralympic Games, which are also being held in Beijing, are subject to the same policy.

Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing that the White House wants to convey a “clear message” that China’s human rights violations imply “business as usual” can’t continue.

The move represents an increase in US pressure on China over charges of forced labour and human rights violations in Xinjiang, China’s western region, mainly against the Uyghur population and other ethnic and religious minorities.

President Joe Biden told reporters last month that he was weighing a diplomatic boycott in response to China’s human rights violations, while Democratic and Republican politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urged for one.

The athletes who will make up Team USA have the government’s “full support,” according to Psaki, but the administration will not “contributing to the fanfare of the games.”

“US diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” Psaki added.

The diplomatic boycott of the games, according to Psaki, does not mean “that is the end of the concerns we will raise about human rights abuses.”

According to Psaki, the White House has informed its foreign allies of the US decision.

Psaki also stated that the White House did not believe it was the “right step” or fair to punish US athletes who had been training for years by boycotting the Olympics as a whole. The last time the United States boycotted the Olympics was in 1980, during the presidency of former President Jimmy Carter.

The United States always sends a delegation to the Olympics, and first lady Jill Biden led the US diplomatic team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which were held this summer after being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Winter Olympics in 2020 were not discussed during Biden’s three-and-a-half-hour meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month. There were no huge breakthroughs at the summit, and none were predicted ahead of time.

According to a senior Biden administration official present during the conversations, Biden and Xi engaged in a “healthy debate” during the November summit. Concerns about human rights, Chinese aggressiveness toward Taiwan, and trade issues were raised by Biden.


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