by Uyghur Times Staff
The White House announced on Monday that the Biden administration will not be sending any diplomatic representation or officials to the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing. The decision comes in light of China’s severe human rights abuses and atrocities including genocide and crimes against humanity in Uyghurstan (Aka Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region), where the Uyghur people have faced repression and imprisonment. The United States cannot treat these games as business as usual while such egregious violations persist. However, U.S. athletes will still participate in the games, and they have the full support of the administration.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, emphasized that standing up for human rights is deeply ingrained in the DNA of Americans. The United States remains committed to promoting human rights and will continue to take action to advance them in China and beyond. The announcement of the diplomatic boycott was met with approval from Capitol Hill, reflecting a strong stance against China’s aggression and human rights abuses.
China’s foreign ministry had already accused U.S. officials of grandstanding, dismissing the importance of government representatives’ attendance at the games. They viewed the U.S. decision as an attempt to politicize sports and create divisions. It is worth noting that President Biden recently held a virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, where concerns about human rights violations were expressed.
The diplomatic boycott announcement coincides with President Biden hosting a White House Summit for Democracy, a gathering that aims to promote democratic values and peace. While the United States has informed other nations of its decision, it respects their autonomy in making their own choices regarding the games.
When asked why American athletes will still participate, Psaki explained that penalizing athletes who have dedicated themselves to training and preparation for this moment would not be the right approach. The administration believes that it can send a clear message by abstaining from sending an official U.S. delegation.
The decision to boycott diplomatically comes after prior U.S.-China talks earlier this year that was marked by acrimony. However, the recent virtual meeting between President Biden and President Xi did not result in concrete outcomes but also avoided further deterioration in relations.
The 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held from February 4 to February 20, 2022.