December 7, 2021

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Biden says he’s ‘considering’ diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics – New York Post

2 min read

President Biden said Thursday that he’s “considering” a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing amid ongoing tensions with China.

“It’s something we are considering,” Biden told reporters when asked about the boycott prior to an Oval Office meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Moments later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she had no update on any potential action, adding, “I want to leave the president the space to make decisions.”

The “diplomatic” boycott would be a half-measure that snubs the authoritarian nation by not sending high-level US officials to events like the opening or closing ceremonies. It would not ban US athletes from participating, as some Republican officials have demanded.

Biden held a virtual summit on Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but the two leaders did not discuss the Olympics, officials said.

According to the White House, Biden and Xi discussed more than a dozen topics, but it wasn’t clear whether other hot-button issues came up — such as China refusing to cooperate with investigations into the origins of COVID-19, which has killed more than 766,000 Americans, and China’s leading role exporting illegal fentanyl, which was responsible for almost two-thirds of the more than 100,000 US overdose deaths last year.

President Joe Biden
President Biden is mulling a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which would not ban American athletes from competing.
EPA/JIM LO SCALZO
The logos for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
Beijing, China, is slated to host the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2022.
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File
A bank officer shows copper-alloy commemorative coins for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
A bank officer shows copper-alloy commemorative coins for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
China News Service via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Biden gave the impression that he might travel to the Olympics after reports emerged that the US would not send a formal delegation.

“I’m the delegation,” Biden said, forcing White House spokesman Chris Meagher to clarify that the comment was not an official decision.

The boycott debate has emerged following an outcry over the apparent disappearance of former pro tennis player Peng Shuai, who recently accused a former top Politburo member of forcing her to have sex with him.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai accused an elderly former vice premier of China of sexually assaulting her.
Fred Lee/Getty Images
An aerial view of Genting Snow Park before a test event for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on November 16, 2021 in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province of China.
Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, is set to host events at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
VCG via Getty Images
Empty stands are seen at Genting Snow Park, a venue for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, China on November 16, 2021.
Empty stands are seen at Genting Snow Park, a venue for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, China, on November 16, 2021.
VCG via Getty Images

So far, Biden has kept many of former President Donald Trump’s policies toward China, including tariffs on Chinese goods and sanctions on Chinese officials for eliminating Hong Kong’s autonomy and for mistreating Uyghur Muslim minorities. But Biden and his aides also mention potential cooperation on issues such as global warming.

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