US will not send officials to Beijing Olympics

China warns the US that Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation



A visitor to the Shougang Park walks past the a sculpture for the Beijing Winter Olympics in Beijing. — AP
A visitor to the Shougang Park walks past the a sculpture for the Beijing Winter Olympics in Beijing. — AP

By Agencies

Published: Mon 6 Dec 2021, 9:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Dec 2021, 11:04 PM

The United States said on Monday it will not send government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, after China pledged unspecified “countermeasures” against any such diplomatic boycott.

President Joe Biden said last month that he was considering such a diplomatic boycott amid criticism of China’s human rights record.

“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told a daily press briefing.

“US diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” Psaki said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

China’s embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The diplomatic boycott, which has been encouraged by some members of the US Congress for months, would not affect the attendance of American athletes, she said.

“The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home.”

Meanwhile, China said earlier on Monday it will take “countermeasures” if the United States called for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, hours after unconfirmed reports that the Biden administration could announce such a move this week.

CNN and NBC cited unnamed sources on Sunday as saying the diplomatic boycott — meaning no US government officials would attend the Games, but athletes would still compete — could be revealed this week, after President Joe Biden said in November it was something he was “considering”.

In response to reports Beijing said such a move would be “pure grandstanding”.

“I want to stress that the Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing on Monday, warning the US should stop “hyping” the boycott.

“If the US is bent on having its own way, China will take resolute countermeasures,” Zhao said.

Coming just six months after the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Summer Games, the Winter Olympics will be held from February 4 to 20 in a “closed loop” bubble because of Covid-19 restrictions.


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