White House confirms U.S. intends diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics


Published December 6, 2021 at 2:13 pm

WASHINGTON — The United States will refrain from sending any diplomatic officials to next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, a show of protest against China designed to ensure American athletes are still able to compete. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the plan today during her daily briefing. 

Psaki says to send an official delegation would be to treat the U.S.-China relationship as business as usual, something President Joe Biden doesn’t want to do. 

Biden indicated last month — sitting alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during their meeting in the Oval Office — that a diplomatic boycott was on the table. 

So far, Trudeau hasn’t gone quite that far, except to say that Canada too was hoping to express its contempt for China’s record on human rights without denying its athletes the chance to vie for a medal. 

China, reacting to reports such a boycott was in the offing, has promised “countermeasures,” but hasn’t indicated what such a response would look like. 

“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games,” Psaki said. 

“The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 per cent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games.” 

Psaki specifically mentioned China’s “egregious” human rights abuses, including its treatment of predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in the region of Xinjiang. 

Canada has long objected to China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, to say nothing of the fact that two Canadian citizens — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — spent nearly three years in Chinese custody in retaliation for Canada’s detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.  

“U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the (People’s Republic of China’s) egregious human rights abuses and the atrocities in Xinjiang,” Psaki said.

“We simply can’t do that.” 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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