US Announces Diplomatic Boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
6th December 2021
Last modified on January 25th, 2022
American athletes will be competing but no official delegation will be sent to the Winter Games because of concerns about China’s human rights record. The UK is considering its position.
President Biden said last month that he was considering the USA’s position as we reported on PlanetSKI.
Now the administration has taken its decision.
The White House said it would not contribute to the “fanfare” of the Olympics.
“US diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang,” a spokesperson said.
“We simply can’t do that.”
China has previously said it will take “resolute counter-measures” in the event of a boycott.
It remains to be seen what this may or may not be.
“The US just wants to politicize sports, create divisions and provoke confrontation,” said a statement by the Spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations.
“The success of the Games does not rely on the attendance of a handful of countries’ government officials.”
The Beijing Games are due to take place from 4th to 20th February 2022 with the Paralympics from 4th to 13th March.
“For heads of state to go to China in light of a genocide that is ongoing – while you’re sitting there in your seat – really begs the question, what moral authority do you have to speak again about human rights any place in the world?” said the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, at an earlier Congressional hearing.
At the same hearing, the Republican Chris Smith said corporate sponsors should be held to account by being forced to testify in Congress.
Democrat Jim McGovern said the Games should be postponed to give the International Olympic Committee time to find a replacement.
I applaud President Biden’s strong leadership in announcing that there will be no official U.S. diplomatic presence at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 6, 2021
The calls for a boycott cited repression by the Chinese government against Uyghur Muslims and minorities in Tibet and the clampdown on democracy in Hong Kong.
In the UK the former Conservative Party leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, has called for a boycott.
He is among the co-chairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, with politicians from 16 countries and two representatives from the European Parliament.
He has accused China of being “dictatorial, aggressive and intolerant”.
In March, he was one of five MPs on whom China imposed sanctions for spreading ‘lies and disinformation’.
Sir Iain responded by saying he would wear the sanctions as a badge of honour.
The UK is currently reviewing its stance with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office recently saying “no decisions have yet been made”.
According to The Times newspaper the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, supports a move similar to US decision.
“Active discussion” is being held at Government level, it recently reported.
It also claimed Boris Johnson is less enthusiastic about any boycott.
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The International Olympic Committee has always said it remains neutral and will not get involved in politics.
China denies it is guilty of human rights abuses.