The White House announced Monday that the U.S. will carry out a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the [People’s Republic of China’s] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing.
A diplomatic boycott means that athletes are allowed to compete, but no American government officials will be present during the games.
Psaki said U.S. athletes have the White House’s “full support,” but that the country would “not be contributing to the fanfare of the games.” The U.S. does not want to conduct “business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang,” Psaki said.
During a sit-down with NBC’s Peter Alexander last month, Biden said a diplomatic boycott of the February event was “something we’re considering.”
The last full U.S. Olympics boycott took place in 1980, when the U.S. and others refused to participate in the Summer Games in Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
In a September call, Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed “areas where our interests converge, and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge,” according to a White House press statement.