The United States will stage a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing to protest China’s human rights abuses, the White House announced on Monday.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 winter Olympics and Paralympic games given the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing.
WH Press Sec. Jen Psaki confirms a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, given China's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity."
She adds: "The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home." pic.twitter.com/qLVTQGqgHx
— The Recount (@therecount) December 6, 2021
This does not mean the U.S. will not send any athletes to the Olympics, as was the case in 1980 in protest of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, only that no government officials will attend the games. Lawmakers from both parties have been calling on the administration to boycott the games for months, and it was widely reported that Monday’s announcement was coming.
The announcement is, as Psaki put it on Monday, a “clear message” that abuses like forcing Uyghurs and other Muslims into detention camps means “business as usual” cannot continue between the two nations. Calls for a boycott grew recently after Chinese tennis Peng Shuai disappeared after she accused a retired Chinese vice premiere of sexual assault.
China was not pleased with the news. Zhao Lijian, a spokesman China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Olympics “is not a stage for political show and political manipulation” and that the boycott is “provocation” and “a serious offense to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.”