The US is sending a ‘clear message’ that business cannot go on as usual amid human rights abuses in China, press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday (Picture: Getty Images)
The Biden administration has announced it will not send any officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday said the US is sending a ‘clear message’ that the human rights abuses in China mean there cannot be ‘business as usual’.
‘The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,’ Psaki said.
‘We have a fundamental commitment to promoting human rights. And we feel strongly in our position and we will continue to take actions to advance human rights in China and beyond,’ Psaki added.
The diplomatic boycott, which won’t prevent American athletes from competing, comes two months before the Games are set to begin in February.
Last month, President Joe Biden said he was considering a diplomatic boycott as China faced criticism for cracking down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, its policies towards Tibet and Taiwan and for detaining and abusing Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, which the US State Department has classified as genocide
Psaki added that Team USA has the administration’s ‘full support’ but that the administration would not be ‘contributing to the fanfare of the game’.
The news comes after China pledged in April that there would be a ‘robust Chinese response’ if the US staged a full boycott of the Games.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded to reports of the boycott’s announcement Monday, stressing the ‘Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation.’
‘US politicians keep hyping a “diplomatic boycott” without even being invited to the Games. The wishful thinking and pure grandstanding is aimed at political manipulation. It is a grave travesty of the spirit of the Olympic Charter, a blatant political provocation and a serious affront to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.’
Governments typically send a high-ranking delegation of diplomats to opening ceremonies in a show of international support for the thousands of athletes from around the world who participate. The 2022 Winter Olympics are set for February 4 to 20.
The International Olympic Committee has said that policing human rights records of host countries is out of its scope.
In October, IOC president Thomas Bach said in a speech that the games should be ‘respected as politically neutral ground.’
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