‘Something we're considering’: Joe Biden mulls diplomatic boycott of China Olympics
The move would keep American dignitaries, but not athletes, from next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing
Washington: President Joe Biden said that the United States was considering a diplomatic boycott of next year's Winter Olympics in Beijing over China's human rights abuses, a move that would keep American dignitaries, but not athletes, from the games.
Speaking to reporters as he hosted Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office, Biden said backing a boycott of the Olympics in February is something we're considering.
The US and other nations traditionally send high-level delegations to each Olympics. First Lady Jill Biden led the American contingent to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo this year and second gentleman Doug Emhoff led a delegation to the Paralympic Games.
International advocacy groups and some members of Congress have called for a symbolic US boycott of the games in Beijing over China's treatment of Uyghurs and its crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong. The participation of American athletes would be unaffected by the boycott.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there was no timeline for a decision by the president on whether to go through with a possible boycott.
The White House has said the Olympics did not come up on Monday when Biden met virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
While China plans to display its green credentials at Beijing Winter Olympics, environmentalists say that it is difficult to independently verify Beijing's claims around the Games that begins on 4 February, fearing a backslash from authorities
Beijing seals off its Winter Olympic 'bubble' as it prepares for strictest sporting event since pandemic
China, where the virus emerged toward the end of 2019, has pursued a zero-tolerance strategy on COVID-19 and is taking the same approach to limit the pandemic's potential impact on the February 4-20 Winter Olympics and subsequent Paralympics.
Rights groups have long called for a boycott over China's human rights record, especially its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang.