White House Confirms US Officials Won't Attend Beijing Winter Olympics

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Dec 06, 2021 - 03:40 PM

Update (1325ET): White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday confirmed a WSJ report that the United States will not send President Biden or any other US government official to the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February over China's human rights abuses.

She noted that US athletes will still participate in the event.

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The Biden administration has officially announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, an announcement that was widely expected, WSJ reports. 

A diplomatic boycott means that no U.S. government officials are attending the Games, but U.S. athletes will still be present. 

On Monday, ahead of the expected announcement, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, "the Winter Olympics is not a stage for political show and political manipulation." He said a boycott "severely tarnishes the spirit of the Olympic Charter." 

Zhao said Beijing would take strong countermeasures to any boycott, potentially impacting Sino-US talks. 

On Nov. 16, WaPo's Josh Rogin cited multiple U.S. administration officials who said the Biden administration was planning to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Then last week, Communist Party-backed Global Times wrote a piece that said Beijing has "no plans to invite U.S. and Western politicians" who hype the "boycott" of the Winter Games. 

The move behind the boycott comes as President Biden has been under pressure by lawmakers to do more to address China's human rights abuses. Beijing has been criticized for cracking down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and detaining Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

"We have serious concerns about the human rights abuses that we've seen," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month.