WH Walks Back Talk of Boycotting Beijing Olympics A Chinese flag flutters in front of the IOC headquarters during a protest by activists on Februay 3, 2021. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)
By Brian Freeman | Wednesday, 07 April 2021 03:34 PM
The Biden administration is not contemplating a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday, walking back comments from the State Department the previous day, The Hill reported.
“Our position on the 2022 Olympics has not changed,” Psaki told reporters. “We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners.”
She went on to explain that we “consult closely with allies and partners at all levels to define our common concerns and establish a shared approach, but there is no discussion underway of a change in our plans regarding the Beijing Olympics from the United States’ point of view.”
The day before, a State Department spokesman indicated in an exchange with reporters that the U.S. was discussing whether to skip the Olympics in Beijing as part of a boycott with allies.
“It is something that we certainly wish to discuss and that it is certainly something that we understand that a coordinated approach will be not only in our interests but also in the interests of our allies and partners,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “So this is one of the issues that is on the agenda both now and going forward, and when we have something to announce, we will be sure to do that.”
Later that evening, however, Price sought to clarify the remarks , tweeting that the Biden administration has no announcement regarding the 2022 Olympics “but we will continue to consult closely with allies and partners to define our common concerns and establish our shared approach to” China.
A senior State Department official reiterated to CNBC that stance, saying “Our position on the 2022 Olympics has not changed. We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners.”
Some Republicans have urged the Biden administration to boycott the Beijing Olympics over China’s repression of Uyghurs and crackdown on rights in Hong Kong.
Sen. Mitt Romney wrote in a New York Times op-ed last month that “American spectators – other than families of our athletes and coaches – should stay at home, preventing us from contributing to the enormous revenues the Chinese Communist Party will raise from hotels, meals and tickets. American corporations that routinely send large groups of their customers and associates to the Games should send them to U.S. venues instead.
Although the Biden administration has harshly criticized China for its behavior towards the Uyghurs and Hong Kong, Psaki’s remarks made clear that boycotting the Olympics is not currently under discussion as part of the administration’s approach to China.