The United States will diplomatically boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics in China, but still allow athletes representing the nation to compete in the Winter Games.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.
Psaki explained that the decision was a response to the “PRC’s ongoing genocide and humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses,” but noted that “the athletes on Team USA” have the administration’s full support. “We’ll be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home.”
China has reportedly detained more than a million Muslim Uyghurs in “re-education camps” that they claim are intended to combat Islamic militancy, but have denied allegations of torture, sexual abuse, forced sterilization, and labor abuses.
“We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games. U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” Psaki continued.
She remarked that the nation has a “fundamental commitment to promoting human rights” and that President Biden has told the People’s Republic of China’s President Xi Jinping that “standing up for human rights is in the DNA of Americans.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian threatened “firm countermeasures” against the United States after the announcement.
China’s Mission to the United Nations said the diplomatic boycott was a “self-directed political farce,” and claimed that the “ U.S. just wants to politicize sports, create divisions and provoke confrontation.”
The Chinese Embassy in Washington claimed that the boycott was happening over “political interests and posturing,” but “no one would care about whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever” on the success of the Beijing Olympics.