The Biden administration will not send a formal US delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as a protest against China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
The IOC ruled that North Korean athletes will not be eligible to participate in the Olympics, but government officials will not attend. The same rule applies to the Paralympic Games, which are being held in Beijing at the same time.
“We’re looking to send a message that there can’t be ‘business as usual’ in China if human rights abuses continue,” Psaki declared.
This is the latest in a string of US actions against China over allegations of slave labor and human rights abuses in Xinjiang’s western region, especially against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities.
Democratic and Republican politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have called for a political boycott in response to China’s human rights concerns. In January, President Joe Biden said he was considering a diplomatic ban as Democratic and Republican lawmakers pushed for one in protest of China’s abuses.
The White House’s support for the team is “complete,” Psaki added, but the administration would not be “contributing to the fanfare of the games.”
“If Beijing were to send a team, for example, prior US diplomatic or official representation would regard these events as usual in the face of the PRC’s serious human rights violations and massacres in Xinjiang,” Psaki added.
Peksi added that the diplomatic boycott of the Olympics “does not signal the conclusion of our discussions regarding human rights abuses.”
Also, Psaki also revealed, “The White House has informed its allies abroad of the US decision.”
The White House also said it opposed the idea of punishing American athletes who have spent years preparing for the Olympics by having an entire US boycott. The United States has never boycotted total Olympic participation in 1980 when Jimmy Carter was president.
The US frequently sends a team to the Olympics, and First Lady Jill Biden was in charge of the United States’ diplomatic contingent to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which took place over the summer following being delayed owing to the Covid-19 epidemic.
The 2020 Winter Olympics was not a topic of discussion during the three-and-a-half-hour summit that Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held last month. The meeting didn’t result in any major breakthroughs, and none were anticipated ahead of time.
During the entire summit, Biden and Xi engaged in a “healthy debate,” according to a senior Biden administration official who was present for the chats. Biden expressed worries about human rights, Chinese aggression toward Taiwan, and trade issues during the discussions.
The Biden administration announced this year that it was prohibiting the import of certain materials used in solar panels from a firm in Xinjiang owing to concerns of slave labor.
The Trump administration has imposed a number of economic sanctions on China as part of its policy to counter the country’s efforts to expand its influence and control in the world. The Commerce Department announced new measures that restrict exports by five Chinese firms owing to allegations of human rights abuses against Xinjiang’s Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities.