US diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics
The United States confirms that it will stage a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses, […] The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games”, the White House press secretary said at a press conference.
The announcement comes two months before the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. American athletes are still expected to compete, but the U.S. government will not be sending representatives to Beijing.
A few hours before the announcement, the Chinese government had called a possible boycott a stain on the spirit of the Olympic Charter, and a sensationalist and politically manipulative move.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the U.S. government of wanting to promote a diplomatic boycott without even being invited to the games.
Zhao added that this is a political provocation and a serious affront to 1.4 billion Chinese citizens.
The boycott comes amid steadily rising tensions between China and many Western countries over human rights violations against the Uighur ethnic minority and the concern about the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who had accused a former top Communist Party official of having coerced her into sex.
The Women Tennis Association last week announced the suspension of the organization of future competitions in China.
Last week the Australian government joined 19 others in not signing the Olympic Truce, a tradition dating back to ancient Greece that guaranteed the suspension of conflicts during a sports competition, as a message to Beijing.