Sports News Roundup: Biden Says U.S. Considering Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics

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President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the US is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics in order to protest China’s human rights record, including what Washington claims is genocide against minority Muslims.

A diplomatic boycott would imply that US officials would not be present at the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.

A decision by the United States not to send ambassadors would be a blow to Chinese President Xi Jinping, coming just days after Xi and Biden attempted to defuse tensions in a virtual meeting, their first extended conversations since Biden office in January.

Activists and members of Congress from both parties have urged the Biden administration to boycott the event diplomatically, citing the US government’s accusation that China is carrying out genocide against Muslim ethnic groups in its western Xinjiang province, which Beijing denies.

On Thursday, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told a routine briefing that the US was considering a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics because to concerns over human rights issues in Xinjiang province. “There are some areas where we are concerned: human rights violations,” Psaki told reporters.

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Washington was talking to governments across the world about “how they’re thinking about participation,” but he did not provide a timeline for a decision.

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In October, a bipartisan group of US senators proposed an amendment to an annual military policy bill that would bar the US State Department from using federal funds to “promote or enable” US government personnel’ attendance at the Games.

Some Republican politicians have called for an outright boycott of the Olympics. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said at a press conference on Thursday that a diplomatic boycott of the “genocide Olympics” would be “too little, too late,” and that no American athletes, officials, or corporate sponsors should participate.

Nikki Haley, a Republican former US ambassador to the UN, has also called for a total boycott, claiming that participating would send the impression that America was willing to turn a blind eye to genocide.

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