The United States’ expected diplomatic boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, was confirmed on Monday night. The US President Joe Biden said last month that the boycott was being considered amid criticism of China’s human rights record.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, given [China’s] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
She said that US athletes will continue to compete and will “have our full support”, but added “we will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games”.
“We have a fundamental commitment to promoting human rights. And we feel strongly in our position and we will continue to take actions to advance human rights in China and beyond,” Ms Psaki added.
President Biden will this week host a White House Summit for Democracy, a virtual gathering of leaders and civil society experts from more than 100 countries that is set to take place Thursday and Friday.
The administration has said that Mr Biden intends to use the convening “to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad”.
Meanwhile, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to “think about a boycott” of the Winter Olympics as well.
Lib Dem Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West) said: “Following that (litany) of abuses against the Uighur Muslims, in Hong Kong and most recently the international concern about the treatment of tennis star Peng Shuai, both the US president and the Prime Minister have admitted they are considering a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in response to this.
“Would the minister agree with me that that has now taken on renewed urgency and urge the Prime Minister to think about a boycott.”
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office minister Amanda Milling replied: “In terms of Peng Shuai, we have called on the Chinese authorities to (assure) the safety of her and we are following her case very closely.
“Everyone should be allowed to speak out without fear of repercussions. All reports of sexual assault anywhere in the world should be investigated.
“With regards to the Winter Olympics, no decisions have been made – in terms of Government attendance in terms of the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics next year.”