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United States to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics over China's human rights abuses

United States to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics over China's human rights abuses

The diplomatic boycott won't stop American athletes from competing in the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.
President Joe Biden is expected to announce that the United States will issue a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics over human rights abuses in China, according to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

The announcement is expected to come at some point this week.

Biden said last month, days after he met with China’s leader Xi Jinping virtually, that the United States was considering such a boycott. The Olympics didn’t come up in that meeting, but Biden did discuss human rights abuses in the country.

Among other things, China is accused of committing crimes against humanity against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang. Both the Biden administration and former President Donald Trump's administration referred to the treatment of Uyghurs by China - which includes allegations of forced mass sterilization, forced labor and separating families - as “genocide.”

There have been growing calls throughout the country and across the world to boycott the games for numerous reasons. Several activists held a demonstration at the Acropolis monument in Athens, Greece, in October during the traditional torch-lighting ceremony.

China has been in the middle of several controversies throughout the sports world in recent years, too. Former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong in 2019, which sparked a massive controversy, and Enes Kanter Freedom has been calling out issues in China once again while playing with the Boston Celtics this season.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai went missing earlier this year, too, after she alleged that a high-ranking Chinese politician had coerced her into sex. The International Olympic Committee has drawn harsh criticism for its handling of Shuai’s disappearance, and the Women’s Tennis Association suspended all tournaments in China.

The diplomatic boycott won’t actually impact any United States athletes at the upcoming winter games in Beijing. All athletes who make the trip will still be allowed to compete normally.

Instead, Biden’s order would keep any American government officials or dignitaries from attending the Games. First Lady Jill Biden led the United States delegation to the Tokyo Olympics last summer, for example. Such a delegation in Beijing will now not exist.

The United States hasn’t boycotted an Olympics since the 1980 Games in Moscow. That was a full boycott, meaning the United States skipped the Olympics completely. Such a boycott is not expected this time, per the report.

The Olympics are set to start on Feb. 4.
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