The US government wants to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in China, but not diplomatic representatives. Beijing is very angry even before the official announcement.
In protest of human rights abuses in China, the United States announced its diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Washington on Monday that the administration of President Joe Biden will not send diplomatic or official representatives to the Olympic Games in China.
Criticism of human rights violations
The background is the “genocide” in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region and other human rights abuses. American athletes must participate in the Games. Psaki said the US government will encourage American athletes from home.
When asked why the United States has not decided to boycott the Games entirely, Psaki said she did not want to penalize athletes who trained extensively for the Games. The government sees the move as also sending a “clear message”.
She stressed that the US government informed international partners of the decision and left them to make their own decisions.
The Winter Olympics will be held in China from February 4-20, 2022. The authoritarian country is accused of violating human rights, especially against minorities such as Uyghur Muslims. Human rights groups cite the autonomous regions of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong as examples of Chinese retaliation. Time and time again, calls to boycott the Winter Games there are loud.
There is significant political tension between the United States and China due to the human rights situations, but also due to many other issues. The relationship between the two countries has fallen to its lowest level since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979. Biden sees China as the strongest competitor and greatest geopolitical challenge to the United States.
Biden had already said in mid-November that he was considering a diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games in China. After US media reported that the US government’s decision was imminent, Beijing responded with outrage and threatened “decisive countermeasures” – even before the official announcement was made by Washington.
“They are exaggerating the boycott issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian criticized on Monday, even before US politicians received an invitation. “It is a mockery of the Olympic spirit, a political provocation and an assault on 1.4 billion Chinese,” Zhao Lijian said in Beijing. Only the Chinese and the world will see the hypocrisy and anti-Chinese nature of American politicians more clearly.
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