US backs away from the idea of boycotting 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

The State Department denied Tuesday evening that it was considering a joint boycott alongside allies of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Biden administration said on Tuesday that it was considering a joint boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, amid calls from lawmakers and advocacy groups to back away from the Games because of alleged human rights violations in China.

Department spokesman Ned Price had initially suggested during a press briefing earlier on Tuesday that a boycott of the Olympic Games was among the possibilities for addressing China’s human rights abuses. The Olympic Games are due to take place between Feb. 4 and Feb. 20. The administration signaled a willingness to consider such a move shortly after conservative Republicans demanded that President Joe Biden justify U.S. participation in the games. Calls for a boycott are driven by concerns over China’s Xinjiang region, where human rights groups cite United Nations reports and witness accounts that as many as 1 million Uygurs and others from Muslim minority groups are held in “re-education camps”. The reports allege that detainees face indoctrination, torture and forced labour.

Last month, the United States sanctioned two Chinese officials, citing their roles in serious human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions by the Biden administration complement actions also taken by the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada.