Speed Reads

Winter Olympics

White House confirms diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics, but 'the athletes on Team USA have our full support'

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Monday the Biden administration will not send any U.S. government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, "making official a diplomatic boycott to pressure China for human rights abuses," The New York Times writes.

American Olympians can still compete in the Games, Psaki explained — "The athletes on Team USA have our full support," — but U.S. diplomats "will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games." 

"This is just an indication that it cannot be business as usual," she said, per the Times. "That does not mean that is the end of the concerns we will raise about human rights abuses."

"We feel this sends a clear message," she added later. 

The official announcement arrives weeks after reports that President Biden was considering a diplomatic boycott. Such a measure has been described by certain Congressional China critics as "a way to hold Beijing accountable" for abuses against the Uighur community and harsh free speech restrictions in Hong Kong "while not punishing American Olympians," writes the Times.

Of the boycott, Zhao Lijan, China's foreign ministry spokesperson, previously said that "if the U.S. insists in willfully clinging to its course, China will take resolute countermeasures." Read more at The New York Times.