Biden Expected to Stage Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics

Biden Expected to Stage Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics 2022 beijing winter olympics emblem (AFP via Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 16 November 2021 12:27 PM

The Biden administration is expected to stage a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, sources told The Washington Post.

The boycott is just symbolic, since it merely means neither President Joe Biden nor his diplomats will travel to China during the COVID-19 pandemic. The athletes will still be participating in full in the Games, according to the report, which was published in the opinion section instead of news.

The Games are about three months away and an official announcement on the White House and State Department position will come sooner than later, according to sources. The recommendation has been delivered to Biden and a decision is expected before the end of this month.

The boycott will be to condemn China's human rights abuses and not the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the diplomatic boycott would come after the International Olympic Committee has already banned all overseas spectators due to COVID anyway.

"They are trying to thread the needle," American Enterprise Institute fellow Michael Mazza told the Post. "They are trying to make sure that with any actions they take, the burden doesn't fall on athletes. The Biden administration also wants to make sure they are not too far out on a limb compared to allies and partners."

Republicans are far more forceful in their calls for a political statement. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., the top-ranking Republicans on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, sent an October letter to the International Olympic Committee, calling for the organization to postpone the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, and to ban China from participating due to reports of genocide by the Chinese government.

An invite for the Games — nor the topic of attending — was discussed during Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping's 3.5-hour virtual meeting Monday night, according to the Post sources.

"President Biden raised concerns about the [People's Republic of China's] practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly," according to the White House readout.

There have been calls for a full boycott of the Olympics in China, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for the more-friendly U.S. diplomatic boycott in a May hearing.

"What moral authority do you have to speak again about human rights any place in the world if you're willing to pay your respects to the Chinese government as they commit genocide?" she said. "So, honor your athletes at home. Let's have a diplomatic boycott.

"Silence on this issue is unacceptable. It enables China's abuses."

Chinese officials calls Pelosi's remarks "lies and disinformation" and denounced "the so-called human rights issue as a pretext to smear and slander China."

Original Article