Story at a glance:
- A staged boycott backfired in the past, during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
- The boycott is due to the U.S. and China’s conflicted relations and China’s human rights abuses.
- Trump, Biden have called out China’s suspicious practices to various degrees.
The U.S. is seeking to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing due to its rocky relationship with China.
The Olympics are set to run from Feb. 4-20, 2022. The U.S. is considering pulling out of the competition and convincing allied countries to do the same, State Department spokesman Ned Price said, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"It is something that we certainly wish to discuss," Price said regarding the games to reporters. "A coordinated approach [with other countries] would be not only in our interest but also in the interests of our allies and partners. So this is one of the issues that is on the agenda both now and going forward."
Price had to clarify his statement, tweeting that the administration is only considering staging a boycott of the games, but a decision is not final.
Both former President Trump and President Biden have had their opposing views about China's leadership. Trump blames China for the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it the “China Virus,” and had a bullish trade war some media outlets believed he lost. On the other hand, Biden is more concerned with China's issues with democracy and climate change policies.
One commonality between the Trump and Biden administrations is their criticism of China's genocidal and prejudiced authority of the Muslim Uyghur minority. Hong Kong pro-democracy activists also face abuse in China.
Withdrawing from an Olympic season due to political reasons is not new for the U.S. In the 1980 Summer Olympics, which took place in Moscow, the U.S. and other countries refused to participate because the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan.
The Soviet Union left Afghanistan in 1989, nearly a decade later, and it was affected by the boycott.
“A boycott from the Olympic Games has never achieved anything,” Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said. “Why would you punish the athletes from your own country if you have a dispute with another country? This makes no real sense.”
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