The U.S. will engage in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics in response to China's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced on Monday.
"U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC's egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can't do that," Psaki said during a press briefing.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds news conference (FULL - 12/6) youtu.be
The Biden administration's diplomatic boycott will not prevent American athletes from competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics in February.
While some lawmakers praised the Biden administration's decision, others said that the move was inadequate, and called for the U.S. to carry out a total boycott.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lauded the president's "strong leadership" in a statement, saying that the U.S. and the rest of the globe "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."
But Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said the U.S. should totally boycott the Olympics in Beijing.
"The President has once again opted for a half measure, when bold leadership was required," Cotton said in a statement about the administration's move. "The United States should fully boycott the Genocide Games in Beijing. American businesses should not financially support the Chinese Communist Party and we must not expose Team USA to the dangers of a repugnant authoritarian regime that disappears its own athletes."
The Global Times, an outlet that is viewed as a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, according to U.S. News and World Report, tweeted about the U.S. diplomatic boycott that, "... Chinese are relieved to hear the news, because the fewer US officials come, the fewer viruses will be brought in."
COVID-19 was discovered in Wuhan, China back in Dec. 2019, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The illness and related lockdowns and restrictions have had a significant impact on both the U.S. and the world.
“Without being invited, American politicians keep hyping the so-called diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is purely wishful thinking and grandstanding,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, according to the Associated Press. “If the U.S. side is bent on going its own way, China will take firm countermeasures.”