President Joe Biden is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics amid pressure to respond more forcefully to ongoing human rights abuses by the Chinese government.
During a Thursday sit-down with NBC Chief White House Correspondent Peter Alexander, Biden said a diplomatic boycott of the February event is “something we’re considering.”
A diplomatic boycott would not affect U.S. athletes participating in the events, only politicians and other American diplomats. Rather, it would be a ceremonial snub of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is seeking to position his country as an emerging global power alongside other world leaders attending the event.
Biden isn’t expected to attend, regardless, according to CNN.
Biden has been under considerable pressure to boycott the Games, due to Beijing’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province. Various investigations have surfaced reports of abuse against the minority group, including mass detentions, torture, and forced labor in factories and fields, according to The Atlantic.
In 2008, then-President George Bush was urged to boycott the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics over Chinese repression in Tibet and its support for the Sudanese government, which was in the midst of engaging in catastrophic violence with rebel groups in Darfur. Bush declined to do so.
The International Olympic Committee didn’t immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment on Thursday.