US Announces Diplomatic Boycott Of Beijing Games

WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States will orchestrate a diplomatic boycott of the impending Winter Olympics in Beijing in protest of human rights abuses by the Chinese government, the White House confirmed Monday. Shortly before, China threatened to take “strong countermeasures.”

“The diplomatic or official representation of the United States would treat these games as if they were business as usual in the face of the egregious abuses and atrocities of human rights of the People’s Republic of China in Xinjiang, and we simply could not do that,” said the press secretary of the press. Jen Psaki at her appearance on Monday.

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Psaki clarified that United States athletes will be able to compete and will have “our full support”, but added that “we are not going to contribute to the fanfare of these games.”

“We have a fundamental commitment to promoting human rights. And we stand firm in our position and will continue to take measures to promote human rights in China and elsewhere, ”added Psaki.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to host a Democracy Summit this week, a virtual gathering of civil society leaders and experts from more than 100 countries between Thursday and Friday. The United States government has said that Biden wants to take advantage of the conclave “to announce individual and collective commitments, reforms and initiatives to defend human rights at home and abroad.

The chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, Robert Menéndez, affirmed that such a diplomatic boycott “is a necessary step to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the inconceivable abuses of the Chinese government.”

The Democratic senator from the state of New Jersey urged “other allies and partners who share our values ​​to join the United States in the diplomatic boycott.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused US politicians of acting for the gallery on the question of whether to send official dignitaries to the competitions. China hopes that the Olympic event in February will serve as the stage for its economic development and technological achievements.

Speaking to the press at a daily conference, Zhao said the boycott would be a “direct political provocation”, although he did not elaborate on how China would respond.

Human rights defenders and lawmakers in the United States who support the boycott maintain that it is a necessary measure. They point to China’s poor human rights record with justification and claim that China uses games to whitewash its mistreatment of civil rights activists, political dissidents and ethnic minorities.

“Uninvited, US politicians keep talking about the so-called diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which are pure illusions and gallery-side performances,” Zhao told reporters.

Sending high-level delegations to Olympic tournaments is a tradition in the United States and other countries. Then-President George W. Bush attended the opening of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The current first lady, Jill Biden, led the American delegation to the summer meeting in Tokyo this year and the husband of the vice president of the United States, Doug Emhoff, led a delegation to the Paralympic Games.

The diplomatic boycott is declared as Washington tries to stabilize its rocky relations with Beijing while maintaining its strategy on trade tensions and conflicts over China’s actions in Taiwan, human rights, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

Beijing has responded harshly to all US criticism, calling it meddling in its internal affairs, and has vetoed US politicians whom it considers hostile.

It was unclear who the United States might have sent to the Beijing games, and Zhao’s comments seemed to indicate that Beijing has not sent invitations.

Australia, whose relationship with China has soured over several disputes, has also raised the possibility of a diplomatic boycott.

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