State Department denies joint Olympics boycott is under consideration

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The State Department denied Tuesday that the U.S. is considering joining allies in a boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing over human rights violations by China. 

“Our position on the 2022 Olympics has not changed. We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners,” a senior State Department official told The Hill.

The clarification came after spokesperson Ned Price indicated that the U.S. was in discussions with international partners on whether to attend the 2022 games. 

“Well, it is something that we certainly wish to discuss and that it is certainly something that we understand that a coordinated approach will be not only in our interests 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, and when we have something to announce, we will be sure to do that,” Price said at a Tuesday briefing

The State Department denied that Price was saying a boycott was moving forward “contrary to some reporting” and said the Biden administration is merely in talks with allies over China’s human rights violations. 

“As the Department said, we regularly discuss common concerns vis-à-vis the PRC [China] with our allies and partners. We will continue to do so, cognizant that a shared approach will always be in our interest,” the senior official said. 

“As I said, we don’t have any announcement regarding the Beijing Olympics. 2022 remains a ways off, but we will continue to consult closely with allies and partners to define our common concerns and establish our shared approach to” China, Price added in his own clarification. 

The Biden administration has come under pressure by some Republicans to boycott the Olympics given Beijing’s brutal crackdown in Hong Kong and harsh repression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) suggested Tuesday that the government ask that the Olympics be held in the U.S. instead.

However, others have said boycotting the games would not change Chinese policy and would only hurt U.S. athletes. 

“It’s unconscionable that we would take away their right to compete next year in Beijing at the 2022 Winter Olympics,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in an op-ed last month.

Tags China–United States relations Foreign relations of China Ned Price Rick Scott Ted Cruz United States at the 2022 Winter Olympics

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