Beijing — On 7 April, the Chinese government warned Washington to not boycott next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. The warning was issued after the Biden administration disclosed that it was talking with allies regarding a joint approach to complaints of human rights abuses.
The accusations of abuses against ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region were rejected by a Foreign Ministry spokesperson. An unspecified “robust Chinese response” was warned by him to a suspected Olympics boycott.
The spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said that the polarization of sports will distort the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the engrossment of athletes from all countries. He also mentioned that both, international community and the US Olympic Committee won’t show acceptance to this matter.
China’s hosting of the games, which is due to start in February 2022, is popping in the eye of Human rights groups, resulting in protests.
The goal of these protests is to urge a boycott and call attention to the accusation of Chinese abuses against Tibetans, Uyghurs, and residents of Hong Kong.
State Department of the US suggested that an Olympic boycott was a possibility, although a senior official later mentioned that a boycott has not been discussed so far. The International Olympic Committee, the US Olympic, and Paralympic Committee have stated in the past that they oppose boycotts.
This opposition was dwelled on by Susanne Lyons, chair of the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee board of directors, at a media summit that took place on Wednesday.
Lyons said that USOPC opposes athlete boycotts as they’ve been shown to have a negative impact on athletes alongside not effectively addressing global issues in the past.
The committee has no intentions to minimize the seriousness of human rights issues taking place in China. However, their belief lies in the hands of government officials, diplomats, and trades who are better equipped in regards to address such concerns. “Young athletes should be used as political pawns in these issues,” Lyons said.
Boycotts have also influenced “unfair pressure” on corporate sponsors who have been the bulk providers of financial support to athletes and athletic programs over the long term, not just specific events, she added.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated that the White House is not looking forward to the boycott of the 2022 Olympics.
“We have not discussed, and are not discussing, any joint boycott with allies and partners,” she said.
Psaki was asked if the US government plans to discourage Americans from traveling to China. He said that the Biden administration hopes, by the time enough people in the country and around the world have been injected with the vaccine against COVID-19.