Will US athletes BOYCOTT Winter Olympics in China? Here's what Biden's diplomatic boycott means

The Joe Biden administration was under immense pressure from activists and members of Congress to ban the Games entirely


                            Will US athletes BOYCOTT Winter Olympics in China? Here's what Biden's diplomatic boycott means
Joe Biden administration is expected to announce this week a limited diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden is expected to announce a limited diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics 2022 this week, according to a recent report. However, while that would mean that no US government officials will attend the Winter Olympics in February, athletes from Team USA would still be able to participate and compete under the proposed boycott.

The Biden administration was under immense pressure from activists and members of Congress to ban the Games entirely to protest China's human rights record, including what Washington says is genocide against Uighur Muslims. The POTUS' move on limited boycott appears to partially appease his critics. He has declared that he was considering such a diplomatic boycott last month. One of the many congressional Republicans who had urged the president to propose a full boycott was Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who said last month: "Joe Biden should announce a complete boycott of the 2022 Olympic Games immediately."

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The Peng Shuai case

Shuai Peng of China celebrates after winning the Women's double quarterfinal match with Sania Mirza of India against Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic and Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic (Photo by Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images)

The mysterious disappearance of women's tennis star Peng Shuai from public view after she accused a top Chinese Communist Party leader of sexual assault has raised considerable concerns about the safety of the athletes. Critics of the Chinese government failed to be fully convinced even when Peng later released videos insisting that she was safe in her home. The chairman of the WTA, an organization that is in charge of controlling the women's game, has "serious doubts" about the safety of Peng last week and has suspended all tournaments in China.

Peng, 35, a Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, alleged that former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli forced her into sex during an on-and-off relationship that went on for a year. On December 2, the International Olympic Committee reported that they contacted Peng through a phone call and were able to ensure 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.



 

History of Olympics boycott

During the history of the modern Olympics, the Games have been fully boycotted on six occasions and all of them have happened during the Summer Games. The US has done it only once previously, during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow as it led 66 nations in withdrawing from the event in protest over the Soviet-Afghan War. In retaliation, the Soviet Union later boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, citing "chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States."

According to Reuters, four sources with knowledge of the matter said that there was a growing consensus within the White House to keep US officials away from the Beijing Olympics. However, CNN made it clear that the US boycott would not prevent its athletes from competing in the Games.

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