Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images
The United States announced on Monday a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics to be held in February 2022 in Beijing, China.
The White House said no official delegation will be sent to the Games due to the worries by supposed violations of human rights on ChinaAlthough American athletes will be able to compete and will have official support.
US President Joe Biden said last month that he was considering a diplomatic boycott of the event.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the boycott on Monday and said that while American athletes will haveán the “full support” of the government, the administration will not contribute to the “fanfare” of the Olympic Games.
“The presence of the US diplomatic representation at the Games would be as if nothing had happened, despite the flagrant violations of human rights and the atrocities of China in Xinjiang,” he said. “We just can’t do that.”
Different from other boycotts
The Biden government’s diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is a far cry from the US boycott in 1980, when it did not attend the Moscow Olympics to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the previous year.
The Soviet Union and its allies, in turn, boycotted the subsequent 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Psaki added that the US government did not consider it the “correct step to sanction athletes who had been training at this time”, but that do not send an official US delegation a the 2022 Games “could send a clear message”.
The diplomatic boycott was quickly praised by politicians on both sides of the political spectrum in United States.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers had called for a boycott in protest of human rights abuses in China.
Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney tweeted that the Biden administration is “right to reject” a diplomatic presence at the Olympics.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, said she applauds the government’s decision.
“While we must support and celebrate our athletes, the United States and the world cannot give these games an official go-ahead or proceed as if there is nothing wrong with holding the Olympic Games in a country that perpetrates genocide and mass violations of human rights, ”Pelosi said.
The United States has accused China of genocide against the Uighurs, a Muslim minority group that lives mainly in the Xinjiang autonomous region (northwest of the country).
Tensions have also risen over the way China has acted to stifle political freedoms in Hong Kong.
China had threatened hours earlier with “countermeasures” if a boycott was announced.
“I want to emphasize that the Winter Olympics they are not a stage for manipulation and political stances“Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said earlier on Monday at a press conference.
“Yes isE.UU. bent on getting his way, China will take countermeasures firmsZhao warned.
High-level government representatives from the US and other countries are often present at the Olympics.
This year, First Lady Jill Biden led the United States delegation to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Now you can receive notifications from BBC Mundo. Download our app and activate them so you don’t miss our best content.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.