United States has announced that it will boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on Monday, alleging human rights violations, although this would not prevent US athletes from competing.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,” Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary said.
“The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home.”
For months, the US government has been attempting to figure out how to best position itself in relation to the Winter Games, which will be held in Xinjiang, northwest China, from February 4 to February 20, 2022, by a country it accuses of committing “genocide” against Uyghur Muslims.
Several human rights groups have accused Beijing of interning at least one million Muslims in “re-education camps” in Xinjiang.
According to Psaki, sending official delegations to the Olympics would suggest that, despite China’s “egregious human rights abuses and horrors in Xinjiang,” the Games were “business as usual…And we simply can’t do that”.
China had promised “countermeasures” if a boycott was declared earlier on Monday.
“I want to stress that the Winter Olympic Games are not a stage for political posturing and manipulation,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, in reaction to weekend media rumors suggesting a boycott could be on the cards.
He ordered the US to avoid “hyping” the boycott during a regular press briefing on Monday.
Zhao added that China would take resolute countermeasures if the US insists on having its way,”
Psaki’s statement elicited no immediate response from Beijing.