United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics citing human rights abuses, to an extent that won’t stop American athletes from competing.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics given the PRC’s (PRC) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other abuses by the human rights”, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“The Team USA athletes have our full support. We will support them 100 percent while cheering them on from home.”Psaki added.
This is the strongest measure for the Olympic event since 1980. That year, in the Games held in Moscow in the midst of the Cold War, the North American power under the government of Jimmy Carter did not allow the participation of athletes and the measure was supported by several Western countries. In retaliation, the Soviet Union reciprocated for the following Los Angeles 84 date.
“The Team USA athletes have our full support. We will be 100% behind them as we cheer on them from here,” Psaki said.
This time, it is a diplomatic boycott. Although the athletes will participate in the competitions, no senior American officials will attend, as is customary. For Tokyo 2020, Jill Biden, wife of Joe Biden, was encouraging the North American delegation, even in the face of setbacks caused by the pandemic.
It is a measure to show Washington’s rejection of Chinese policies, but it would only focus on the political part, according to sources cited by the chain CNN.
Although to completely boycott the event they were repeated in recent months, the American Olympic Committee stated its opposition to a solution as radical as a sports boycott, explaining that the Games are important in the context of the pandemic. Also, withdrawing participation would mean handing out a large number of medals to the hosts.
Joe Biden acknowledged in November that the diplomatic boycott was on the table, after prominent voices from the main parties had requested it, including Democrat Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives. The measure seeks to denounce the repression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China, described as “genocide” by the United States government.
Beijing 2022 will take place from February 4 to 20 next.
Many elected officials from various camps, including Pelosi and Republican Senator Mitt Romney, advocated this diplomatic boycott. “I am hopeful that the government will send a strong message to the Communist Party of China without punishing American athletes.the former GOP presidential candidate said on Tuesday.
China strongly protested when Nancy Pelosi defended this measure in May.
In recent months, resolutions and bills have multiplied in the United States Congress, some aimed at punishing companies that agree to sponsor the Winter Olympics, others asking the International Olympic Committee to move the competition to another country.
Tensions between the United States and China have been a constant in recent years and, in fact, Biden has not invited the Asian giant to the Summit for Democracy that he is organizing this week. One of the main American reproaches has to do with the treatment inflicted on the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, although it has also criticized the repression of dissent in Hong Kong.
But the threats do not only come from Washington. In recent weeks it has emerged that the UK and Australia are also considering joining the diplomatic boycott.
The official Chinese press has echoed in recent weeks the boycott threats and at the end of November Global Times made it clear that Beijing would not invite leaders to even raise diplomatic retaliation linked to the Olympics.
Those calling for a boycott are being “bombastic” and should stop doing so “so as not to affect dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in important fields,” Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Monday.
“If the US insists on voluntarily sticking to this path, China will take forceful countermeasures.”, he said at a press conference.
With information from Europa Press and AFP