Report: US Officials to Turn Their Backs on Winter Olympics

Sources say diplomatic boycott of Beijing Games has been formally recommended to Biden
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2021 10:50 AM CST
Report: US Officials to Boycott Beijing Olympics
The logos for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics are seen during an exhibit at a visitors center at the Winter Olympic venues in Yanqing, on the outskirts of Beijing, on Feb. 5, 2021.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

The Biden administration is likely planning a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics in February in response to human rights abuses in China, according to a report. Several sources tell Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin that a formal recommendation has been made to President Biden that the US refrain from sending an official delegation to China, meaning no US government official will attend. Though the decision hasn't been finalized, according to Rogin, Biden is expected to approve the plans before December. This is meant to send a message to the Chinese government about its human rights abuses without putting the onus on athletes.

Some had expected Chinese President Xi Jinping to personally invite Biden to the Beijing Games during a 3.5-hour virtual meeting on Monday, but the Olympics didn't come up, deputy White House spokesman Andrew Bates confirmed to the Guardian. Biden did, however, raise concerns about China's "practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly," according to the White House. The administration has upheld the Trump administration's determination that abuses against ethnic minorities, including Uyghur Muslims in China's northwest Xinjiang province, represent an ongoing "genocide." It has also been critical of the Chinese government's interference in Hong Kong and repressive moves in Tibet.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney called for an economic and diplomatic boycott of the Olympics back in March, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a diplomatic boycott at a hearing in May. "What moral authority do you have to speak again about human rights any place in the world if you're willing to pay your respects to the Chinese government as they commit genocide?" she said. But others say a diplomatic boycott will have no effect on China's human rights abuses. Michael Mazza, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, tells the Guardian that a delegation should instead be sent to highlight the problem. And if China tries to block the delegation, "make them do that quite publicly." (More 2022 Beijing Olympics stories.)

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