The White House confirmed on Monday a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in response to Human rights violations committed by the Chinese government in Xinjiang, This means that no high-ranking US official will attend a sporting event, something that hasn’t happened since 1980.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has indicated that the Joe Biden Administration is sending a “clear message” that abuses cannot go unpunished. At a press conference, Psaki asserted that the decision was made “in light of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang province.
Despite not sending a diplomatic delegation, the White House has expressed its “full support” to the US Olympic team, while insisting it is unwilling to “contribute to the fanfare of the game”reports CNN. Psaki added that the government did not consider it a “right or fair move” to implement a full boycott of the sport, as it would punish American athletes.
The possibility of an American boycott is something that has been talked about in recent weeks. Biden himself acknowledged in November that a diplomatic boycott was on the table, after being prompted by prominent voices from the main parties, including Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House.
Upon learning of the news, the official Global Times newspaper has published a message on its Twitter account reassuring that “to be honest, The Chinese are relieved to hear this news, because the fewer Americans who come, the less the virus will get “into the country.”
The last time such action was implemented was with Jimmy Carter at the White House, when the United States was politically distancing itself from the Moscow Olympics.
Tensions between the United States and China They have become constant in recent years and, in fact, Biden has yet to invite the Asian giant to the Democracy Summit he is hosting this week. One of America’s main reproaches relates to the treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang, although it also criticizes the suppression of dissent in Hong Kong.
China’s official press has echoed in recent weeks boycott threats coming from the United States as well as from other countries from Britain and in late November the ‘Global Times’ made clear that Beijing would not invite leaders who even escalated diplomatic retaliation related to the Olympics.