It’s official: The White House announced a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The boycott is a result of the “egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.
A diplomatic boycott means the U.S. won’t be sending any official representatives or diplomats to China to watch the Winter Games, but it still allows American athletes to compete.
“The athletes on Team USA have our full support,” Psaki added.” We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home.”
Sending government officials to the Olympics is usually the norm for the United States. Former President George W. Bush attended the 2008 Olympic Summer Games that were also held in Beijing, for example, and first lady Jill Biden attended the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics last summer.
Prior to the White House announcement on Monday, China said that a U.S. diplomatic boycott would be “outright political provocation,” and threatened to take “firm countermeasures” if the U.S. staged a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games.