US confirms diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Washington, Dec 6 (EFE).- The United States on Monday confirmed that it will not send any diplomatic representatives to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in protest over human rights abuses by China, although US athletes will be allowed to participate in the sports events.

“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games,” Psaki said at her daily press briefing on Monday morning.

Psaki attributed the decision to “the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses” in China.

“The athletes on Team USA have our fully support, we will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home,” Psaki said.

The diplomatic boycott, which several US media outlets had already reported, seeks to send a “clear signal” that the human rights situation in China cannot be treated as something “normal,” given that “egregious human rights abuses and atrocities” are being perpetrated there, specifically in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, Psaki said.

At the same time, however, the White House will not prohibit US athletes from participating in the Olympics, a ban that would have been imposed had Washington levied a full boycott on the Winter Games, because it does not want to “penalize” athletes who have spent months or years training to prepare themselves for the event held only every four years, she added.

The Chinese government said last week that it was not intending to invite US political representatives to the Winter Games, something about which the International Olympic Committee has the last word.

Biden’s decision is less drastic than the one taken in 1980 by then-President Jimmy Carter, who announced a complete US boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

That meant that US athletes could not participate in the Games at that time, in contrast to the situation on this occasion.

State Department spokesman Ned Price, meanwhile, noted that this boycott is not the only step the US has taken or will take in response to the crimes against humanity that Washington says China is committing.

Price said that when the US speaks or takes action, “the world listens,” adding that this kind of boycott is a sovereign decision that every country should take, adding that the US hopes that other nations will follow its example and take the same decision in the coming days not to send official diplomatic delegations to the Winter Games.

Price was careful to separate this boycott by US diplomatic personnel from a boycott by US athletes.

EFE llb/ssa/pamp/arc/dmt/bp

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