The United States will not send a diplomatic representative to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, but athletes will be able to participate in the games, the White House announced on Monday. This is a way of making the American position on the Uighurs heard. The United States accuses China of “genocide”.
In question, the American accusations of human rights violations attributed to China, against the Uyghur Muslim minorities of the Xijiang region, who find themselves locked in “re-education” centers, and undergoing forced labor and sterilizations, according to several NGOs.
But China defends itself by believing that these centers are intended for vocational training, although the Uighurs themselves have testified to the contrary, especially in the media, and photos of their crying families have circulated on the internet.
According to NGOs, there are at least 1 million Muslims of this minority in these camps. And, the United States, has often tackled China on this issue, especially since the Trump administration and now with that of Biden. The US president said he was “considering” this option last month.
Thus, Washington decided to boycott these games diplomatically and Canada and Australia would be on the way to follow suit, despite warnings from the Chinese side who had warned to take “countermeasures”.
“If the United States wants to do things its way at all costs, China will take firm countermeasures,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.
The White House justified its boycott by a position that would not want to close its eyes to these “atrocities”. By being present, “the American diplomatic representation would treat these Games as if nothing had happened, despite the gross human rights violations and China’s atrocities in Xinjiang. And we just can’t do that, ”White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
However, American diplomatic representatives will be present in Beijing but not for an official representative mission. Their presence will be solely for the purpose of ensuring the safety of athletes, coaches, and persons associated with the US Olympic team.
“The athletes of Team USA have our full support. We will be 100% behind them while we cheer them on from here, ”said the spokesperson. On Monday, the International Olympic Committee said “respect” the American decision.
While the scale of the political protest is difficult to predict for the time being, as Australia and Canada plan to emulate Washington and the European Parliament called for a diplomatic boycott in July, the absence of a sports boycott is crucial for the organization of Lausanne.