On Monday, the United States government announced an official diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in response to human rights violations committed by the Chinese Communist Party. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made the announcement during her Monday appearance before the White House pool.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity,” Psaki told media.
Psaki officially announces a U.S. diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics: “The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity[.]” pic.twitter.com/xc5WL08rNI
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) December 6, 2021
She added that the U.S. will support American athletes from abroad:
“The athletes on Team USA have our full support, we’ll be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games”
Ahead of the expected boycott, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China was prepared to take “countermeasures.”
“Without being invited, American politicians keep hyping the so-called diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympic, which is purely wishful thinking and grandstanding,” Zhao said. “If the U.S. side is bent on going its own way, China will take firm countermeasures.”
The Associated Press noted that it was a tradition for top governmental officials to visit the host country during the Olympics.
“The dispatching of high-level delegations to each Olympics has long been a tradition among the U.S. and other leading nations — then-president George W. Bush attended the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Summer Games,” the outlet noted. “First lady Jill Biden led the American contingent to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo this year and second gentleman Doug Emhoff led a delegation to the Paralympic Games.”
Support for the move seems to have some bipartisan support.
Last month Cruz told NBC that he supported a diplomatic boycott, also saying that he believed American athletes should still be able to perform at the competition.
After the move, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted out her support for Biden’s decision calling praising the president for his “strong leadership.”
“As I noted when I called for a diplomatic boycott last May, the last three decades of Beijing’s abusive and repressive actions show that the international community can no longer give Beijing a blank check and hope that its behavior will simply change,” she added.
She continued, “While we must support and celebrate our athletes, America – and the world – cannot give our official imprimatur to these games or proceed as if there is nothing wrong with holding the Olympics in a country perpetrating genocide and mass human rights violations.”
Leif Le Mahieu contributed to this report.