On Monday, the White House announced a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in China in a show of protest over human rights issues. The move means President Joe Biden and other American officials will not attend, which is standard practice; however, athletes are allowed to participate in the February games.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing that the decision is in part a signal of opposition to China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority in western Xinjiang province. In March, the White House declared Beijing’s treatment of the Uighurs to be a genocide. Psaki told reporters: “The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic games given the PRC’s 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 percent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games.”
Beijing is scheduled to host the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 4-20. It is the first U.S. boycott of any kind for the Olympic Games since President Jimmy Carter ordered a full boycott for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow over Russia’s military invasion of Afghanistan. No American athletes participated in those Games, and Russia ordered a similar boycott of the Los Angeles Summer Olympics four years later.
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