US Announces Diplomatic Boycott Of Beijing Winter Olympics
Announcing the new development, 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.
For months, the US government has been trying to find the best way to position itself with regard to the Winter Games, hosted from February 4-20, 2022 by a country it accuses of perpetrating “genocide” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, northwest China.
China has been accused of committing crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against the Uyghur population and other mostly-Muslim ethnic groups in the north-western region of Xinjiang.
Human rights groups believe China has detained more than one million Uyghurs against their will over the past few years in a large network of what the state calls “re-education camps”, and sentenced hundreds of thousands to prison terms.
There is also evidence that Uyghurs are being used as forced labour and of women being forcibly sterilised. Some former camp detainees have also alleged they were tortured and sexually abused.
There are about 12 million Uyghurs, mostly Muslim, living in Xinjiang, which is officially known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
Uyghurs speak their own language, which is similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. They make up less than half of the Xinjiang population.
Recent decades have seen a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) into Xinjiang, allegedly orchestrated by the state to dilute the minority population there.
China has also been accused of targeting Muslim religious figures and banning religious practices in the region, as well as destroying mosques and tombs.
US 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.
Earlier Monday 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 spokesman 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.
There was no immediate reaction to Psaki’s statement from Beijing.