Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Washington, DC – The Biden administration announced that it will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games “given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. The UK, Australia, and Canada have also joined the diplomatic boycott.

In Xinjiang, since 2017, according to Amnesty International an estimated one million or more Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim peoples were arbitrarily detained without trial in Xinjiang since 2017, “and subjected to political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation in “transformation-through-education” centres. Documenting the full scope of violations remained impossible due to a lack of publicly available data and restrictions on access to the region. Despite having initially denied the existence of camps, authorities later described them as “vocational training” centres. Nevertheless, satellite imagery indicated that an increasing number of camps continued to be built throughout the year.”

Earlier this year, the US, European Union, UK, and Canada imposed sanctions on China over human rights abuses against the Uyghurs.

Psaki said that, “US diplomatic or official representation would treat these Games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang. And we simply can’t do that.”

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) applauded President Biden for implementing a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics given the Chinese government’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses. USCIRF has publicly expressed concerns over the Beijing Olympics in its 2020 and 2021 Annual Reports and recommended that the United States not send government officials to the games if the Chinese government’s crackdown on religious freedom continues.

“We commend President Biden for implementing the diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympic games and demonstrating the United States’ unwavering commitment to religious freedom,” said USCIRF Vice Chair Nury Turkel. “The Chinese government’s systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom and other human rights of Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, and many others betray the Olympic spirit. In fact, a genocidal regime should not have been granted the privilege to host the Olympics in the first place.”

“China is one of the worst violators of religious freedom in the world,” said USCIRF Commissioner James W. Carr. “By implementing a diplomatic boycott, the United States and like-minded countries send a strong and unequivocal message to the Chinese government: the international community condemns and does not tolerate its egregious policies that actively persecute religious minorities. USCIRF urges the Chinese government to abide by the international standards it has signed and immediately cease the persecution of vulnerable religious groups.”

In November 2021, the US State Department redesignated China as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) for engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.

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