WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Biden said that he is considering a U.S. diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
- The move aims to protest China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority.
- A diplomatic boycott means US athletes would participate in the games, but officials would not attend.
President Joe Biden said Thursday that the United States is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. The move aimed to protest China’s human rights record, including what the White House claims is genocide against minority Muslims.
“Something we’re considering,” Biden said during a sit-down with NBC Chief White House Correspondent Peter Alexander.
A diplomatic boycott would mean that U.S. officials would not attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.
A U.S. decision not to send diplomats would be a rebuke of Chinese President Xi Jinping just days after Xi and Biden’s virtual summit. The meeting was their first extensive talk since Biden hold office.
Activists and members of Congress from both parties have been pressing the Biden administration to respond more forcefully to ongoing human rights abuses by China.
Sources with knowledge of the administration’s thinking have told Reuters there was a growing consensus within the White House that it should keep U.S. officials away from the Games.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was talking to countries around the world about “how they’re thinking about participation,” but left a deadline for a decision unclear.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators in October proposed an amendment to an annual defense policy bill that would prohibit the U.S. State Department from spending federal funds to “support or facilitate” the attendance of U.S. government employees at the Games.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also called for a diplomatic boycott, saying global leaders who attend would lose their moral authority.
Some Republican lawmakers have been calling for a complete boycott of the Olympics.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas told a news conference on Thursday that a diplomatic boycott of what he called the “genocide Olympics” would be “too little, too late” and said no U.S. athletes, officials, or U.S. corporate sponsors should take part.
Nikki Haley, a Republican former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also had called for a complete boycott, saying attending would send a message that America was willing to turn a blind eye to genocide.
Source: Yahoo! News