Beijing Olympics: Biden considers US diplomatic boycott over human rights concerns

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US President Joe Biden is weighing a US diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic games due to be held in Beijing, China, which means no US officials would be sent to attend the games.

The decision comes amid rising tension in the US-China relationship.

“That is something we are considering,” he told reporters ahead of talks with the leaders of Mexico and Canada.

At the White House, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the US and China leaders did not discuss the Olympics during their three-hour virtual meeting on Monday.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called for a diplomatic boycott as a means to protest against Chinese human rights abuses.

A diplomatic boycott would not affect athletes, but Ms. Psaki said the US is still finalising “what our presence will be” at the games, which are due to begin on 4 February.

The US has accused China of genocide towards the Uyghurs – a Muslim minority group which lives mostly in the autonomous region of Xinjiang.

Tensions have also risen over the way China has acted to repress political freedoms in Hong Kong.

Mr. Biden’s comment came as he was hosting Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for formal talks at the White House.

The talks, dubbed the Three Amigos Summit, are expected to focus on border issues, tax subsidies for electric vehicles, Covid precautions and other issues.

Last month, US senators proposed a draft amendment to a bill that would ban the US State Department from spending government funds to “support or facilitate” the attendance of US diplomats at the Games.

Nancy Pelosi, the most senior Democrat in Congress, has called for a boycott, saying that US leaders who attend would lose their “moral authority”.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton said on Thursday that diplomatic boycott of the “genocide Olympics” would be “too little, too late” and called for a total boycott of all athletes, officials and US corporate sponsors.

Nikki Haley, the former US representative to the UN under Donald Trump, has also called for a complete boycott. (Source: BBC)

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