By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 7: Following a year-long campaign by numerous rights group, the US administration has finally announced a diplomatic boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on Monday, which means no US delegation would attend the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics scheduled to be held in February and March respectively. “The Biden Administration sent a message today that will be heard around the world. The message to Xi Jinping is that actions have consequences; Xi’s campaign of brutal genocide and crimes against humanity will not be received by the world in silence,” SFT Campaigns Director Pema Doma said in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday’s briefing, “The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses. The athletes on team USA have our full support. We’ll be behind them one hundred percent as we cheer them on from home. We’ll not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games.” The current development was first heard and tabled in one of the congressional hearings by the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in May urging the government and other world leaders to refrain from attending the games on grounds of ‘moral authority’.
“Not only does this high profile move show solidarity with impacted communities, who have faced the momentous escalation of repression that followed the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, it also sets an example for other governments to follow,” a joint statement from over 200 organizations wrote in a statement after the US announced the boycott. The rights groups urged the UK, Canada, Netherlands, and European Union to follow suit and take immediate action, and commit to reject invitations from Beijing on humanitarian grounds.
Following the announcement by the US, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing, “Without being invited, American politicians keep hyping the so-called diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is purely wishful thinking and grandstanding.” The Chinese embassy in Washington also weighed in on the development, as spokesman Liu Pengyu stated, “No-one would care about whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever on the Beijing Winter Olympics to be successfully held.”
New Zealand also announced that it will not send any official representatives at a ministerial level to the Olympics, Deputy PM Robertson said on Tuesday, citing Covid-19 as one of the reasons. Moreover, the UK and Australia are said to be considering similar boycotts. China will soon become the only country to have hosted both Summer Olympics in August 2008 and Winter Olympics in February 2022.