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USA announce 'diplomatic' boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Having hosted the 2008 Summer Games, the Olympics return to Beijing on February 4

New York, December 7: The US announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, citing ongoing human rights abuses in China.

"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's] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

"The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home."

What is behind the diplomatic boycott?

Last month, US President Joe Biden said he was considering holding back official US representation at the Beijing Games over China's human rights record.

Washington has led international criticism over Beijing's crackdown on the Uyghur Muslim minorityin the western Xinjiang region.

"US 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 told a press briefing Monday.

Other countries, including Germany and the UKhave discussed potentially withholding high-level officials from the games, which begin on February 2.

China decries US 'grandstanding'

"Without being invited, American politicians keep hyping the so-called diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is purely wishful thinking and grandstanding," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a press briefing.

"If the US side is bent on going its own way, China will take firm countermeasures," Zhao added, without specifying what form Bejing's response could take.

China is hoping the 2022 Winter Olympics will showcase its economic and technological development to the world.

However, along with international criticism over human rights, the games have been also been weighed down by the coronavirus pandemic, with international spectators being barred from attending.

The WTA has also decried the direct communication with tennis star Peng Shuai who has not seen in public for a month now.

Source: DW

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Story first published: Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 1:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 7, 2021