U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday, Nov. 18, affirmed that his administration is considering a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over concerns of human rights abuses.
“Something we’re considering,” Biden said when he answered to a reporter who asked if his administration was taking it into account. The president was about to have a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Human rights advocates have long appealed for a global boycott of the major sports event when Beijing, China, became the registered host, referring to it as the “Genocide Game.”
The Communist government is under scrutiny for its barbaric treatment of Uighur Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang, its crackdown on Hong Kong protesters, and other religious and minority groups.
If the U.S. confirms a diplomatic boycott of the sports event, U.S. officials will stay away from the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, ABC News reported; this does not mean U.S. athletes will not attend the competition, however.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday repeated that the Biden administration was considering the boycott over human rights issues in China.
“There are areas that we do have concerns: human rights abuses. We have serious concerns,” she said, per Reuters.
While the date of an official announcement has not been discussed, the Washington Post reported on Nov. 16 that the official confirmation will be made by the end of this month.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), co-sponsor of the Uyghur Forced Labor legislation, said the diplomatic boycott was too weak to apply any significant pressure.
“It is probably going to be too little, too late. And now it’s not enough, either,” Cotton, according to ABC News, called the measure “the least, the absolute bare minimum that any civilized nation would do.”
The Kentucky Senator urged for a full spurn of the sports games, including athletes and corporate sponsors.
“I’m here today to call on the Biden administration to mount a complete and total boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. No athletes, no administration officials, no corporate sponsors,” he said.
This is not the first time the Olympic Games raise concerns for human rights violations.
For instance, in order to protest Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter ordered a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
In 2008, during the Olympic Games in Beijing, groups of people voluntarily organized a global movement called the “Human Rights Torch Relay” with the slogan “Olympic Games and human rights violations cannot coexist to condemn the repression in Tibet, the persecution of Falun Dafa and Christians.
The Beijing Olympics will begin on Feb. 4, 2022.