White House confirms diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Games
This Monday, December 6, the United States confirmed that it will not send any diplomatic representatives to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. This is being done in protest of human rights abuses in the Asian giant, although American athletes will still participate in the event that begins on February 4, 2022.
At her daily press conference, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, said, “The government of US President Joe Biden will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games”.
Psaki attributed the decision to, “Genocide and crimes against humanity that persist in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, as well as other human rights abuses in China. Team USA athletes have our full support, and we will be supporting them from home, but we will not contribute to the fanfare for the Games”.
The diplomatic boycott – which had already been reported in advance by various US media outlets – seeks to “send a clear signal that the human rights situation in China, where there are egregious abuses, cannot be treated as normal”, Psaki stressed.
At the same time, Washington has decided not to prohibit the participation of American athletes, something that would have meant a complete boycott of the Games. It does not want to “penalise” athletes who have been training for months or years to prepare for the Games.
The Chinese government had already indicated last week that it had no plans to invite US politicians to the Winter Games. This decision is one that could only be made by the International Olympic Committee.
Biden’s decision is less drastic than the one made in 1980 by then-US President Jimmy Carter. A full boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics was made in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This meant that American athletes could not participate in the Games, unlike this time in Beijing, as reported by elperiodico.com.