China issued a warning to the United States on Wednesday not to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics next year over human rights abuses and violations against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The move comes after the Biden administration recently said it was looking at a coordinated response among multiple countries to the violations in China.
On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said that the Biden administration is discussing a potential joint effort among allies to respond to the abuses in Xinjiang while keeping in mind the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The Associated Press reported:
The U.S. State Department suggested an Olympic boycott was among the possibilities but a senior official said later a boycott has not been discussed. The International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have said in the past they oppose boycotts.
As reported by the outlet on Tuesday, spokesperson Ned Price reportedly discussed the topic earlier, saying, “Part of our review of those Olympics and our thinking will involve close consultations with partners and allies around the world.”
“These Games remain some time away. I wouldn’t want to put a timeframe on it, but these discussions are underway,” Price said. “It is something that we certainly wish to discuss and it is certainly something that we understand that a coordinated approach will be not only in our interest, but also in the interest of our allies and partners. So this is one of the issues that is on the agenda, both now and going forward.”
The Daily Wire reported that State Department later “issued a statement saying it was not considering a boycott after spokesman Ned Price suggested earlier in the day that one was possible in response to China’s human rights abuses.”
On Wednesday, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson in China pushed back against allegations that there are human rights violations taking place against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. He warned of a nonspecific “robust Chinese response” to a potential boycott of the Olympics, The Associated Press reported.
“The politicization of sports will damage the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the interests of athletes from all countries,” said the spokesperson, Zhao Lijian. “The international community including the U.S. Olympic Committee will not accept it.”
The Biden administration has notably taken a position on the location of sports events recently as President Biden said that he would “strongly support” Major League Baseball moving its All-Star Game out of Atlanta, Georgia, last week to protest the most recent voting law passed in the state. The MLB relocated the game to Denver, Colorado, which as The Daily Wire pointed out has a voter ID law. Some have raised the question as to whether or not Biden plans to take the same stance on human rights violations in China and call for a United States boycott of the games.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Biden’s seemingly differing stances by a reporter last week.
The Daily Wire reported:
“The President had voiced his support for MLB making a decision about the All-Star Game in Georgia,” the reporter said. “I’m wondering, when can we expect a final determination from the President about the United States participating in the Beijing Olympics, given that he said the Chinese President doesn’t have a democratic bone in his body?”
“Well, I think the U.S. Olympic Committee would play a big role in—” Psaki deflected.
“But he’s weighed in on Major League Baseball here in United States,” the reporter responded.
“He actually didn’t,” Psaki claimed. “I think, I don’t know if you heard the, the answer, the question and the answer that happened a few minutes ago where we addressed this, and I answered the question. And I gave you a little more context, but maybe you weren’t paying attention to that part.”
On Wednesday, Psaki clarified the position of the administration on boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympic games, saying, “We have not discussed, and are not discussing, any joint boycott with allies and partners.”