The Biden administration has announced that they will not send an official U.S delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing – launching a “diplomatic boycott” to rebuke China over its human rights abuses.
Biden’s advisers have stated that China is engaging in “genocide” against the Uyghurs, which is a Muslim ethnic group in China’s Xinjiang region. The Chinese government has detained over 1 million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in “re-education” and labour concentration camps.
However, Chinese officials have dismissed U.S remarks as ‘foreign meddling’ in domestic affairs and have stated that China’s treatment of the Uyghurs is “about terrorism and separatism, not about human rights”.
American political advisor, Jen Psaki said that the administration was sending a “clear message” that the human rights abuses in China mean there cannot be “business as usual”.
She added that “the athletes on Team USA have our full support… [as] we will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games.”
Traditionally the USA send a listing of high-ranking dignitaries, often commenced by the seating of the Vice President and First Lady attending the Olympic events – including the opening and closing ceremonies. In the most recent Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, First Lady Jill Biden led the US delegation.
Human rights groups have been attempting to persuade the White House to push for a full-scale U.S boycott but such decisions can only be taken with the USOPC, which has declined the idea. It is not yet clear whether U.S allies such as Australia, Canada or the United Kingdom will follow the White House’s lead, but said listed countries have started to consider carrying out the same.
If other countries were to follow in the footsteps of the US delegates, it would be extremely impactful and hopefully would help China realise the severity of the actions being taken place on their country.