Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, confirmed to the media on Dec. 6 that the Biden administration will be conducting a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics. The move will consist of no high-level U.S. politicians attending Beijing 2022, but athletes will still be able to participate.
"The Joe Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Games given the genocide and crimes in the People's Republic of China in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," said Psaki.
The diplomatic boycott has been discussed in the country for several months as a protest against China's treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority and its actions in Tibet and Hong Kong. Last month, President Joe Biden confirmed for the first time that it was "something they were considering."
In addition, in June of this year, the U.S. Senate passed a bill calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Games, as well as a series of measures aimed at addressing Chinese relations, including economic influence and foreign policy.
In recent months, resolutions and bills have multiplied in the U.S. Congress, some aimed at punishing companies that agree to sponsor the Winter Olympics, others calling on the International Olympic Committee to move the competition to another country.
"The United States should institute a total and complete boycott of the Winter Games. The threat to our athletes and the crimes against humanity committed by China leave us no choice," said Senator Tom Cotton from the right wing of the Republican Party, Thursday, Dec. 2.
The move is the strongest since 1980, when the Olympics were held in Moscow during the Cold War and athletes could not participate in the competition. It occurred during President Jimmy Carter's term in office.
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held from Feb. 4-20, 2022, followed by the Paralympic Games from March 4-13.