Beijing, 6 December 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The United States will carry out a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday.
US athletes are to compete as planned, but President Joe Biden’s administration will not send any diplomatic or official representatives to the Winter Games in China.
Biden said last month he was mulling such a measure in connection with China’s human rights record. China has been accused of repression in Hong Kong and of ethnic minorities, including the Uyghur people in the western region of Xinjiang.
Asked why the US government refrained from a complete boycott of the Games, Psaki said they did not want to punish the athletes who had trained intensively for the competition.
China on Monday already vowed “resolute countermeasures” should the US decide on a diplomatic boycott.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned at a briefing that such a boycott would not go unanswered.
“China will take necessary and resolute countermeasures. It is a travesty of the Olympic spirit, it is a political provocation and an offence to the 1.4 billion Chinese people,” Zhao said.
He also spoke of the “anti-China nature and hypocrisy of the US politicians” in the run-up to the February 4-20 Games.
Olympic Games are normally visited by high-ranking officials from other countries.
First Lady Jill Biden attended the recent Tokyo Games, and then-US President George Bush was in Beijing when the city hosted the summer Games in 2008.