US announces 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics diplomatic boycott
US President Joe Biden's administration will not send any diplomatic representatives to the Beijing 2022 Olympics, while China earlier threatened "countermeasures" if such a boycott were announced.
The US administration announced Monday a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics held between February 4-20, citing "human rights abuses", due to what it called the "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity," in a move that will not stop US athletes from competing.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said "The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC's (People's Republic of China) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses."
"The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home."
Sending official representation to the Olympics would signal that, despite China's "egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang," the Games were "business as usual," Psaki said.
"And we simply can't do that," she continued.
China threatens with "countermeasures"
Earlier, China had threatened "countermeasures" if such a boycott were announced.
"I want to stress that the Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation," foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in response to weekend media reports that a boycott could be imminent.
Speaking at a regular press briefing on Monday, he warned the US should stop "hyping" the boycott.
"If the US is bent on having its own way, China will take resolute countermeasures," Zhao said.
The spokesperson mentioned that the US decision would be an “outright political provocation.”
“Without being invited, American politicians keep hyping the so-called diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympic, which is purely wishful thinking and grandstanding,” Zhao expressed.
There was no immediate reaction to Psaki's statement from Beijing.
Coming just six months after the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Summer Games, the Winter Olympics will be held from February 4 to 20 in a "closed loop" bubble because of COVID-19 restrictions.