There will be no official US representative in attendance during the Beijing Olympics in February, President Joe Biden has decided.
– We will not support the excitement surrounding this match, said White House press spokeswoman Jen Psaki at a press briefing Monday.
– We are fully committed to fighting for human rights both at home and abroad, and we believe in our case, he said.
He added that US athletes will continue to prepare for the Winter Olympics as before, with the full support of the US government. No athlete boycott of the Olympics, which open in Beijing on February 4 next year, has been requested.
Uyghurs and Hong Kong
Countries, led by the United States, have long been preparing for a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in China due to criticism leveled at Chinese authorities, especially over the treatment of the Uighur minority in the country’s western province of Xinjiang.
The treatment of opposition figures in Hong Kong also counts in the assessment of protests against Chinese authorities in relation to the Olympics.
Apart from the United States, leading countries such as Britain and Australia have also signaled that a diplomatic boycott may be appropriate.
It was CNN that early Monday morning in Norway came with the news that the Biden administration had decided to protest against China diplomatically.
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The head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, said the boycott was necessary “to mark our steadfast defense of human rights against the immoral abuses of Chinese authorities.”
Menendez called on allies and others who share US values in this area to join a diplomatic boycott.
The Norwegian government has made clear that the diplomatic boycott of Norway is irrelevant.
China, which has repeatedly distanced itself from accusations of abuses against the Uighur minority in Xinjiang, reacted strongly on Monday to a planned US boycott.
– This is a direct political provocation, said spokesman Zhao Lijian, who is a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but without commenting on how China will comply with the US decision.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a brief statement that it “respects” the US diplomatic boycott.
“The presence of government representatives and diplomats is entirely a political decision for any government,” the statement said.
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