The United States put an end to speculation on Wednesday about a possible boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which had been requested by various sectors of society and politics.
Both the White House and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) ruled out the possibility of leading a boycott of the Beijing Games over allegations against China for the mass incarceration and indoctrination of more than a million Uighurs and others. , mostly Muslim, in the Xinjiang region.
“We have not had discussions and we are not discussing any boycotts with allies and partners,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Psaki said Washington was speaking with allies “to define our common concerns and establish a common rapprochement, but there is no ongoing discussion about a change in our plans regarding the Beijing Games.”
As of Wednesday, the administration of President Joe Biden had kept the door open to boycott the Winter Olympics without announcing any firm direction.
– “Negative consequences” –
Hours earlier, the USOPC had reaffirmed its opposition to boycotting the upcoming Winter Games.
Boycotts of athletes “have been shown to have negative consequences on athletes as they do not respond satisfactorily to international issues,” said Susanne Lyons, president of the USOPC.
“For our athletes their only dream is to represent the United States and we support them,” added Lyons. “We do not believe that the young athletes of Team USA should be used politically.”
This anti-boycott position assumed by the US Olympic Committee is nothing new, but the reaffirmation in this regard this Wednesday was expected after the statements of the State Department spokesman, Ned Price.
– Political pressures –
Price said Tuesday that it was “something we certainly want to discuss,” when asked if the United States would consider a boycott together with its allies.
“We understand that a coordinated approach will not only be in our interest, but also our allies and partners,” he added, without disclosing a position.
Although then he seemed to take a step back in his idea, noting that “the United States has nothing to announce about the Beijing Olympics.”
For his part, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who after leaving office called for a boycott of the Winter Games, wrote on Twitter: “If you live in mainland China, voter identification is not required because there are no voting.”
China is facing international pressure on a variety of issues, including rights watchers denouncing the mass incarceration and indoctrination of more than a million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim people in the Xinjiang region.
The Asian superpower has denounced the boycott calls and denies the genocide of the Uighurs, saying it is providing vocational training to minorities to reduce the appeal of Islamic extremism.
He has also been under pressure for the imprisonment of members of the opposition in Hong Kong.
The United States spearheaded a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Soviet bloc in retaliation boycotted the Summer Games in Los Angeles four years later.
The Beijing-2022 Winter Games are scheduled to begin on February 4, six months after the Tokyo-2020 Summer Games, which due to the pandemic were postponed to July and August 2021.