After supporting a boycott of Georgia, the Biden administration says it is not considering a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. According to the White House, the U.S. will attend the event even while China runs concentration camps for Uighurs and persecutes and imprisons Christians.
The State Department originally said yesterday that it was discussing a joint boycott with allies but quickly backtracked.
The decision is a strange one given the fact that the Biden administration verified the Trump administration’s assertion that China was committing genocide with its repression of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. During the daily briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked why this finding hasn’t warranted a response from the United States.
“Just to be very clear and reiterate—our position has not changed in our planned participation,” Psaki responded.
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“However, we are working as we would be on any issue in coordination with our partners and allies about a range of concerns we have with China’s behavior and their actions, including the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in China, including actions China has taken as it relates to economic and security steps. And so, that is something we would do in partnership and coordination with our partners in the region.
“Just like any relationship, there are areas where we feel we can work together, areas where we have great concerns—we voice those—we don’t hold back on those as the president did in his call.”
The press secretary was referring to a call Biden had with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in February.
With calls for a boycott growing over China’s human rights record, State Department spokesman Ned Price on April 6 repeated concerns over what Washington has described as genocide against Uyghur Muslims in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman later responded to the idea of a boycott.
“International society will not accept [it],” Zhao Lijian told a news conference in Beijing on April 7.
Human rights groups have urged the IOC to take the Olympics out of China because of its treatment of Uyghur Muslims along with other human rights concerns.
An independent U.N. panel said in 2018 that it had received credible reports that at least 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslims have been held in concentration camps in Xinjiang.