On Monday, the White House said the U.S. would stage a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over China’s egregious human rights abuses, including Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs Muslims in Xinjiang Autonomous Region in Northwest China, a move the Chinese administration had said would be met with resolute countermeasures.
Jennifer Rene Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, said the Joe Biden government won’t send any official representation to the Beijing 2022 Olympics and Paralympic Games given China’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in the autonomous territory, and other rights abuses.
Psaki said that American diplomatic or official representation would treat the Games as business as typical in the face of China’s appalling human rights abuses and extremely cruel acts in the western province, and they merely cannot do that. She added that the boycott, which has also been encouraged by some US Congressional members for months, wouldn’t affect the attendance of US athletes who have the Biden administration’s strong support.
The White House has officially announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirms that due to “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity,” no U.S. officials will attend the 2022 Winter Games. pic.twitter.com/4d9oBkiw5J
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) December 6, 2021
The action comes only days ahead of American leader Joe Biden will host a virtual meeting for Democracy gathering of leaders and civil society actors from over a hundred nations on Thursday and Friday. The government has said that Mr. Biden intends to use the Summit to proclaim both individual and shared pledges, initiatives, and reforms to defend democracy and human rights domestically and abroad.
US, China Need to Increase Communication
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America described the US diplomatic boycott as political alteration late on Monday, stressing that the pronouncement wouldn’t affect the Winter Olympics.
Liu Pengyu, the Embassy spokesperson, told Reuters in an emailed statement that no invitation has been extended to American politicians whatsoever, so that diplomatic boycott merely comes out of nowhere. Such a pretentious act is only a political manipulation and a serious distortion of the essence of the Olympic Charter.
Before the declaration, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said those calling for a diplomatic boycott are grandstanding and should prevent to not affecting the dialogue and cooperation between the U.S. and PRC in important areas.
Without explaining what those countermeasures could include, Zhao Lijian said during a press conference that if America insists in deliberately clinging to its course, PRC will take resolute countermeasures.
The China-US relationship has been strained in past years over issues including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, but Chinese President Xi Jinping and Joe Biden stressed their close ties during a virtual call a recent month. The US leader urged better and more honest communication with PRC after the virtual call, while the Chinese President said the rivals must work more closely together. The Chinese leader said the US and China need to increase their communication and cooperation.
In America, the diplomatic boycott was praised by both GOP and Democratic legislators. GOP Sen. Mitt Romney said in a Tweet that the Joe Biden government was right to refuse an official representation at the Games, while Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added that she much-admired the choice.