White House expected to announce diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics

WASHINGTON — The White House is expected to announce that neither President Biden nor any other U.S. government officials will attend the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, China, according to The Washington Post.

The boycott would be a response to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses. While the move would send a message, it would not impact the participation of U.S. athletes.

Sources told The Post that while the administration has not finalized the decision, a formal recommendation has been made to Biden and he is expected to approve it before December.

Biden met virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday for roughly three and a half hours, however, the issue was not discussed according to reports.

“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,” said the White House summary of the Biden-Xi meeting.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney called for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games in late October. Romney said the boycott “will hurt the Chinese Communist Party, rather than punish our American athletes.”

In a New York Times op-ed earlier this year, Romney said a full boycott would be “counterproductive.” He said the United States’ decision to fully boycott the 1980 Moscow Games gave the Soviet Union a propaganda victory.

In May, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called for a boycott.

“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?” Pelosi said. “So, honor your athletes at home. Let’s have a diplomatic boycott. … Silence on this issue is unacceptable. It enables China’s abuses.”

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