US announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

The United States said on Monday it would not send government officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics after China promised unspecified “countermeasures” against any such diplomatic boycott.

President Joe Biden said last month it was considering a diplomatic boycott amid criticism of China’s human rights record, including what Washington says is a genocide against Muslim minorities in its western region of Xinjiang.

The United States “will not send any diplomatic or official representation to Olympic and Paralympic Games Beijing Winter 2022 given the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses in the People’s Republic of China, “said the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

The diplomatic boycott would not affect the attendance of American athletes, he noted. “The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will support them 100% as we cheer them on from home.”

Earlier on Monday Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign AffairsHe had pointed out that those calling for a boycott are being “bombastic” and should stop doing so “so as not to affect dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in important areas.”

If the United States insists on voluntarily sticking to this trajectory, China will take forceful countermeasures, “he told a news conference.

Chinese officials say they have received more than 1,500 applications from the United States Olympic Committee, which is responsible for submitting the names of the athletes to attend the Winter Games, scheduled for February.

Nonetheless, they cite strict Covid-19 restrictions on plans to limit viewer attendance, and Chinese state media have said that Beijing does not intend to invite Western politicians who have threatened a boycott.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is the only leader of a major country who has accepted China’s invitation to attend the sports event.

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