The United States announces a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Olympics

The United States has announced that it will diplomatically boycott the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics because of “outrageous” human rights violations in China, it would not send an official delegation to the Games protesting against China’s human rights abuses, including Beijing’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in its western Xinjiang region. 

“The Biden government will not send diplomatic or official missions to the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing in light of the ongoing genocide [People’s Republic of China] and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, as well as other human rights abuses,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. 

He told reporters of the egregious human rights violations and atrocities that the People’s Republic of China has committed in Xinjiang, and we just cannot do that, ”he said.

Psaki added that the diplomatic boycott, which has been promoted by some members of the US Congress for months, would not affect the participation of US athletes who have the “full support” of the Biden administration. 

The measure comes a few days before the President of the United States Joe Biden will host a virtual “Summit for Democracy” meeting of civil society leaders and actors from more than 100 countries on Thursday and Friday. 

The government said Biden will use the meeting to “announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad ”. 

The Chinese embassy in Washington later on Monday described the US boycott as “political manipulation” and stressed that the decision would have no impact on the Olympic Games.

“Invitation was not extended at all to the American politicians, so that this” diplomatic boycot “simply comes from that,” said the Embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu to  the Newers News Agency in a statement by e-mail.

“Such a pretentious act is only political manipulation and a serious distortion of the spirit of the Olympic Charter,” he said. 

Ahead of the announcement, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said those calling for a boycott are “insignificant” and should stop “so as not to undermine the dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in important areas “.

“If the US insists on voluntarily sticking to its course, China will take decisive countermeasures,” Zhao Lijian said during a press conference, without going into what these countermeasures might entail. 

Relations between the United States and China have been strained in recent years due to issues such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, but Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted their close ties on a virtual phone call last month. 

Biden called for better and “more honest” communication with China after the call, while Xi said the rivals should work more closely together. “China and the United States need to increase communication and cooperation,” said Xi. 

Einar Tangen, a political scientist in Beijing, despised the American boycott said;

“It will do nothing but create grudges between two nations that need to come together to solve the world’s problems,” he told reporters. 

China has rejected international criticism and sanctions against the situation in Xinjiang, where the United Nations and human rights groups believe that at least one million Uyghurs and members of other minorities, mostly Muslims, have been detained. 

The US State Department announced in March that China was committing “genocide and crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang. Vocational training centers to combat “extremism” Sophie Richardson, China’s director of the Human Rights advocacy group Watch, called the US decision on Monday a “decisive step” to challenge human rights violations in China against Uyghurs.

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