US President Biden announces considering diplomatic boycott of Winter Olympics in Beijing
Some US lawmakers have urged a diplomatic boycott to show American disapproval of recent Chinese economic and military actions and the country’s human-rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
President Joe Biden said Thursday that the United States was considering a diplomatic boycott of next year's Winter Olympics in Beijing over China's human rights abuses, meaning the US would decline to send a delegation of government officials. This move would keep American dignitaries away, but not athletes, from the games. That is “something we are considering,” Biden told reporters while meeting with Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, at the White House. The Beijing Olympics take place next February.
Some US lawmakers have urged a diplomatic boycott to show American disapproval of recent Chinese economic and military actions and the country’s human-rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Biden and Chinese President Xi Jingping didn’t discuss the Olympics during a 3.5-hour-long virtual summit on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said after Biden’s remark, Bloomberg reported.
In response to a question, Psaki said she didn’t have an update on what the US presence would be. “We have serious concerns about the human rights abuses we’ve seen in Xinjiang,” she said. “And certainly, there are a range of factors as we look at what our presence would be.”
Biden's comment followed a video summit with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping late Monday, during which the two leaders said they wanted to ensure stability and prevent accidental conflicts. However, Biden is under pressure at home to speak out on China's human rights abuses, especially in Xinjiang where the US government says repression of the Uyghur ethnic group qualifies as genocide, AFP reported.
Speaking to reporters as he hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office, Biden said backing a boycott of the Olympics in February is “something we're considering.” The US and other nations traditionally send high-level delegations to each Olympics. First lady Jill Biden led the American contingent to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo this year and second gentleman Doug Emhoff led a delegation to the Paralympic Games.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration would soon announce a diplomatic boycott, meaning that while athletes would still compete, government representatives would not be in the stands.
(With inputs from agencies)