U.S. Announces Diplomatic Boycott Of Beijing Winter Olympics

The US will not send any government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as part of a diplomatic boycott over alleged human rights abuses perpetrated by China.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Monday that while US athletes will still compete in next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, no American delegates will be attending.

She said the boycott was in response to “egregious” human rights abuses in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, insisting that the US cannot continue “business as usual” with China.

The Biden administration has accused China of committing genocide against the Uighurs — a Muslim minority group in Xinjiang.

“We feel this sends a clear message,” Psaki said.

It follows comments made by President Joe Biden in November suggesting he was weighing up a diplomatic boycott of the Games. The State Department was said to be weighing a boycott of the games back in April of this year.

Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping discussed China’s practices in Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, among other areas of friction during three hours of virtual talks last month.

Both Democratic and Republican politicians have called for pressure on China against alleged human rights abuses in the country and a crackdown on free speech in Hong Kong.

Calls for a diplomatic boycott have also intensified in recent weeks following concerns over the safety of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who disappeared from public life last month after accusing a Communist Party leader of sexual assault.

Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the boycott “a powerful rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign of genocide in Xinjiang.”

“This boycott is a necessary step to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to human rights in the face of the Chinese Government’s unconscionable abuses,” he said in a statement, adding that he hoped other nations would follow suit.

China has previously said it will take “resolute countermeasures” in the event of a boycott.

“I want to stress that the Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing. “If the US is bent on having its own way, China will take resolute countermeasures.”

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