The Biden administration is expected to announce this week a limited diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, according to a new report.
Under the proposed boycott, U.S. government officials will not attend the Winter Olympics in February, but American athletes would still participate and compete, CNN reported on Sunday.
President Joe Biden said last month that he was considering such a diplomatic boycott to protest China‘s human rights record, including what Washington says is genocide against ethnic minority Uighurs.
The administration has been under pressure from activists and members of Congress to skip the games entirely, and the limited boycott appears to be a move to partially appease critics.
President Joe Biden is expected to announce this week a limited diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing in a snub to Chinese leader Xi Jinping
A large logo of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is seen in Beijing, China. According to media reports, US President Joe Biden says US is considering diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics
Congressional Republicans have been especially vocal in demanding a full boycott, with Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas saying last month: ‘Joe Biden should announce a complete boycott of the 2022 Olympic Games immediately.’
The Peng Shuai affair has raised concerns in some quarters about the safety of athletes, after the women’s tennis star disappeared from public view after she accused a top Chinese Communist Party leader of sexual assault.
Peng later issued videos insisting that she was safe in her home, though the move failed to satisfy critics of the Chinese government.
The WTA, which controls the women’s game, last week suspended all tournaments in China amid what its chairman called ‘serious doubts’ about the safety of Peng.
Peng, a 35-year-old Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, has alleged that former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli, now in his 70s, forced her into sex during a years-long on-and-off relationship.
A jogger runs by a street decoration for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at National Olympic Sports Center on November 24, 2021 in Beijing, China
People walk by cartoon statues depicting winter sports ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Thursday in Beijing, China
The National Indoor Stadium, the main venue for the ice hockey competition in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, is pictured on Thursday in Beijing
Medalists celebrate on the podium after the Women’s normal hill individual finals during the 2021/2022 FIS Ski Jumping Continental Cup, a test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
On December Thursday the International Olympic Committee reported that it held a second call with Peng the day prior, and said that she is safe and well.
‘From Peng Shuai & the Uyghurs to Hong Kong & Taiwan, China must be held accountable for its reprehensible actions,’ tweeted Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee last week.
‘This is why there should be a full boycott of the Beijing 2022 Olympics. We cannot reward the CCP with the Olympic world stage,’ they added.
During the history of the modern Olympic games, there have been full boycotts on six occasions, all of them during the Summer Games.
The US has only boycotted once, during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, leading 66 nations in withdrawing from the event in protest over the Soviet-Afghan War.
The Soviet Union later boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in retaliation, citing ‘chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States.’
A man runs in front of the Shougang Big Air venue, which will host the big air freestyle skiing and snow boarding competitions at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, at the Shougang Park
Aerial view of the awarding stage for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics under construction at Taizicheng ice and snow town on November 29, 2021 in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province of China
A woman takes photos with her mobile phone of a figure skating sculpture erected for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, at the Shougang Industrial Park
The White House declined to comment on CNN’s report on Sunday.
Four sources with knowledge of the administration’s thinking previously told Reuters that there was a growing consensus within the White House to keep U.S. officials away from the Beijing Olympics.
CNN said the U.S. boycott would not prevent its athletes from competing in the games.
The State Department did not respond to questions about the report late Sunday.