The United States decided to boycott Beijing Winter Olympics next year to protest the human rights abuses of China, according to the announcement of the White House. President Joe Biden or any U.S. government official will not attend the event. The symbolic diplomatic boycott doesn’t affect the ability of U.S. athletes to participate in a pointed snub to a nation seeking to use the Games to boost its global standing.
Pressure to initiate such a boycott has been building for last some months, with representatives from both political parties and human rights groups asking the Biden government not to attend in response to the policies of Beijing targeting democracy activists in Uyghur and Hong Kong Muslims in the Xinjiang region, among other issues. In March, the government declared the Chinese treatment of Uyghur Muslims a genocide.
The US Govt has announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, many on both sides of the @HouseofCommons have been calling for this, along with @ipacglobal. It’s time the UK Govt announced both ministers and officials will #BoycottBeijingOlympics #NoRightsNoShow pic.twitter.com/pPJTgjpFk0
— Iain Duncan Smith MP (@MPIainDS) December 6, 2021
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Monday that American officials to diplomatic representation would treat these Olympics Games as business as usual in the face of egregious human rights abuses of China and killings in Xinjiang. She added that the Team United States of America athletes have officials’ full support. The government will be behind the athletes 100%.
However, she added that the U.S. would not be contributing to the fanfare of the Winter Olympic Games. Last month, the president told reporters that he was weighing a diplomatic boycott. Furthermore, the issue didn’t arise in the virtual meeting the president held with Xi Jinping, the President of China, last month.
Olympic Games Event is Not a Stage for Political Posturing
Psaki said that they informed the Chinese officials about their latest move. On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, was highly critical. He also stressed that the Winter Olympic Games is not a platform for political manipulation and posturing. Further, he added that the U.S. political leaders are exciting a diplomatic boycott without being invited to the event. It is a grave travesty of the spirit of the Olympic Charter, a severe insult to the 1.4 billion Chinese nationals.
Additionally, the White House press secretary said that the government briefed the partners and allies on the U.S. move on the 2022 Games. Moreover, the Global China program director at the Atlantic Council, David Shullman, said that the hope is that Biden will encourage allies in Europe and Australia to do the same. A common stance among countries will send a significantly more powerful message about the unacceptable nature of the Chinese abuse than a singular American effort that Beijing will seek to sack a stunt led by China. A British official said his government had not decided on the Olympic matter.