The United States has taken a stance against China’s ‘human rights abuses’, announcing that it will diplomatically boycott the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games.
The boycott will result in no American diplomats or officials attending the February 2022 Games, though US athletes will still compete.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the decision was in response to alleged human rights violations taking place in China, and that USA athletes will continue to be supported during the games.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.
“The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 per cent as we cheer them on from home”, Psaki said.
The announcement was met with backlash from Chinese state representatives and state media.
In an emailed response, embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said: “No invitation has been extended to US politicians whatsoever, so this ‘diplomatic boycott’ simply comes out of nowhere.”
“Such a pretentious act is only a political manipulation and a grave distortion of the spirit of the Olympic Charter,” he said.
China Daily bureau chief Chen Weihua tweeted: “You’re not invited and not welcome, Mr Biden. Hope you will live long enough to see China boycotting Los Angeles Summer Games in 2028.”
You’re not invited and not welcome, Mr Biden. Hope you will live long enough to see China boycotting Los Angeles Summer Games in 2028.
— Chen Weihua （陈卫华） (@chenweihua) December 6, 2021
The announcement garnered positive support from human rights groups with Human Rights Watch’s China director Sophie Richardson saying it was “a crucial step toward challenging the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities”.
The Australian Government has not yet taken a stance on the issue amid mounting pressure on Australian officials to also diplomatically boycott the upcoming Games.
The Prime Minister addressed the boycott demands on Friday, stating his government will be “considering” taking action against China.
“We’re considering those matters at the moment and working through those issues,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.
Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Senate, Penny Wong said: “This case raises serious concerns about athlete safety.
“In light of this, and ongoing concerns about the human rights situation in China, Labor is willing to work with the government to agree a bipartisan, national position on the level of Australia’s diplomatic representation at the Winter Olympics,” she said.
2021 has seen tense relationships between China and other governments as well as sporting bodies, with the WTA suspending all tournaments in China over the whereabouts of 35-year-old Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, Peng Shuai.