US ‘to diplomatically boycott Beijing Olympics’, sparking cold war-era Biden snub as fears of war in China grow

The Biden administration is expected to announce that neither the president nor any other U.S. government official will attend the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 amid mounting tensions, according to a report.

Several sources familiar with the plans told the Washington Post that the planned diplomatic boycott comes in protest against human rights violations by the Chinese government.


Joe Biden set to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022 Winter OlympicsCredit: Splash
Biden met Xi Jinping virtually Monday evening


Biden met Xi Jinping virtually Monday eveningCredit: Alamy

However, the U.S. team’s athletes will not be barred from competing, the sources said.

While the decision has yet to be finalized, a formal recommendation has been made to Biden and he is expected to accept it before the end of November.

The timing of the announcement would not be linked to the virtual meeting Monday night between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Days earlier, it had been reported that Xi Jinping intended to raise the Olympics issue with Biden, possibly even inviting him to attend personally. But the topic was not discussed during the three-and-a-half-hour meeting, according to reports.

A reading from the White House virtual meeting reads: “President Biden has raised concerns about the [People’s Republic of China’s] in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, as well as human rights in general.


The Biden administration has never raised the possibility of a boycott in any capacity.

Meanwhile, human rights groups and activists have also called for a complete boycott of the athletes.

After Biden and Xi Jinping met, Post sources say the White House has one less reason to delay announcing the boycott.

It is understood that the administration will inform the allies of its decision but will let them make their own decision as to whether to follow the lead of the United States.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022 in May that would not punish U.S. competitors.

Senator Mitt Romney, who oversaw the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, also called for an economic and diplomatic boycott in a New York Times editorial in March.

Romney argued that a full boycott – which would involve the absence of athletes – would be counterproductive.

He pointed to President Jimmy Carter’s total boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which was touted by the Soviet Union as a victory in its propaganda.

“In authoritarian states, the Olympics have been more often a propaganda tool than a lever for reform,” Romney wrote.

Carter’s boycott came after the Soviet Union missed a deadline to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan on February 20, 1980. The Soviet army invaded Afghanistan a year before strengthening the Communist regime of country against Islamic rebel forces.

The reaction to Cater’s decision has been mixed. In retaliation, the Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics four years later in 1984.

In 2008, when Beijing last hosted the Olympics, then President George W Bush accepted an invitation to attend despite the Chinese crackdown in Tibet at the time.

He then advocated for human rights in China by welcoming the Dalai Lama to Washington and awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal.


Both the Biden and Trump administrations have called the Chinese government’s abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province an ongoing “genocide”.

Biden’s virtual meeting with Xi Jinping on Monday was touted by China as an opportunity to forge better relations in an era of growing tensions. The United States, by contrast, has been relatively silent on the talks.

During the meeting, the two sides maintained their positions on the issues that divide Washington and Beijing, with Xi warning that the United States and Taiwan are playing with fire on the autonomous island that China considers part of its territory.

Biden and Xi both appeared determined to lower the temperature in what for both sides is their most important – and often turbulent – relationship on the world stage.

“As I have said before, it seems to me that our responsibility as the leaders of China and the United States is to ensure that the competition between our countries does not degenerate into conflict, whether it is intentional or no, “Biden told Xi at the start of the meeting.

Xi echoed Biden’s friendly tone in his opening remarks, saying, “China and the United States must increase communication and cooperation.” He also called Biden an “old friend”.


The White House said Biden reiterated that the United States will abide by its long-standing “One China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as the government of China but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.

Biden also made it clear that the United States “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” a White House statement said.

In addition to raising human rights concerns, Biden also spoke with Xi about North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran.

Paul Haenle, former US official and Chinese expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the AP: Define the terms of what is a new era in US-China relations. “

Likewise, Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank in Beijing, said, “I see this dialogue as a stabilizer of the bilateral relationship.

“I don’t expect this summit to take us back to the good old days, but it certainly stops the downward spiral.”

Biden and Xi Jinping shared cordial remarks


Biden and Xi Jinping shared cordial remarksCredit: AP
An announcement is expected at the end of the month


An announcement is expected at the end of the monthCredit: AP
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