Updated 1927 GMT (0327 HKT) December 6, 2021
(CNN)The Biden administration will not send an official US delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as a statement against China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.US athletes will still be allowed to compete in the Olympics, but the administration will not be sending government officials to the games. The same policy applies for the Paralympic Games, which are also taking place in Beijing.The White House is looking to send a “clear message” that the human rights abuses in China mean there cannot be “business as usual,” Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing.The move marks an escalation of pressure by the US on China over allegations of forced labor and human rights abuses in China’s western region of Xinjiang, particularly against the Uyghur population and other ethnic and religious minority groups.President Joe Biden told reporters last month he was weighing a diplomatic boycott as Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, advocated for one in protest of China’s human rights abuses.The athletes that will make up Team USA have the administration’s “full support,” Psaki said, but she added the administration would not be “contributing to the fanfare of the games.”
“US diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” Psaki said.Psaki said that the diplomatic boycott of the games does not mean “that is the end of the concerns we will raise about human rights abuses.”The White House has informed its allies abroad of the US decision, Psaki said.
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