Joe Biden, the President of the United States, considering imposing a diplomatic boycott on 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Republicans and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill want to force the president to bar American officials from attending it. The president is currently facing bipartisan pressure from Congress to snub China at the following year’s games as some senators intend to force a diplomatic boycott as part of annual defense policy lawmaking that will hit the Senate floor this week.
According to the representatives, their goal is to call attention to the human rights records of China, including what the Biden government characterized as a genocide of religious minorities, especially Muslim minorities, in Xinjiang. However, Senate and House leaders are cool to the idea of executing a diplomatic boycott against China on the games as part of the defense policy bill – even as support is mounting on two sides of the corridor to send a message to Beijing.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called for a US diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, criticizing China for human rights abuses and saying global leaders who attend would lose their moral authority: Reuters
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How to approach the 2022 Winter Olympics in China?
In an interview, House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith stated that he thinks it is a very crucial and challenging issue, and it would be hard to sort it out in that way. As a general rule and boycotting the Olympics is not a good approach. Similarly, Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez, who supports a diplomatic boycott to China, said that he doesn’t think the government will get it done. Whereas his Republican counterpart on the panel, Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, also offered a similar evaluation and said that it is impossible one way or the other at this stage.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi advocated for a diplomatic boycott in protest of Chinese human rights abuses. Some GOP leaders go one step ahead and insist that no American athletes attend the sports event. On Tuesday, the White House declined to say whether they planned any boycott for the upcoming winter Olympics. Andrew Bates, the deputy press secretary, told reporters aboard that he doesn’t have anything to add on that matter. But it was not part of President Biden and his counterpart XI’s virtual meeting.
America is in Active Conversations with Allies to Discuss 2022 Olympics Participation
Antony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State, said last week that America and its allies are in active talks about how to proceed with the next year’s Winter Olympics in China. Blinken appeared virtually at the DealBook Summit of the New York times; journalists asked him whether he thinks American athletes should take part since he previously said that the Chinese government is involved in religious genocides, given its policies toward Uyghur Muslims in the Chinese province.
Blinken said that the Biden administration is communicating with allies, partners, to nations across the world about how they are thinking about the Olympic games and how they are thinking about their participation. Further, he adds that it is an active conversation. The U.S. is coming up on the games. The Beijing Winter Olympics are set to start on 4th February and end on 20th February.
Will announcing a diplomatic boycott with China help Biden to minimize domestic critics?
The Senate set to start debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which focuses on a $25 billion boost to the Pentagon budget request of Biden and the military policy, including additional funds to counter rival China. However, the debate will possibly extend the previous Thanksgiving, but it is already some months late, and lawmakers will have only a few weeks to shape out compromise legislation, which will make controversial proposals like an Olympic Games boycott.
That dynamic possibly leaves a concluding decision on the Winter Olympics to the Biden government instead of Congress – though representatives say it would strengthen presidents’ hands if he had clear congressional support. Moreover, announcing a diplomatic boycott with China could help the president mollify domestic critics who say Biden struggled to make development on crucial issues in the complicated United States-China relationship.
On Monday evening, President Biden met virtually with Chinese president Xi Jinping, but senior government officials said the matter of the Olympics didn’t come up during the hour’s long conversation. According to the previous reports, the Chinese president was ready to invite the American president to attend the games officially. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the idea of a diplomatic boycott with the rival country has broad support in Congress, from liberals to GOP China hawks, for example, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
A group of diverse ideological senators initiated an amendment to the defense bill to impose such a boycott by curbing financial support for the United States officials to attend the games. Republican Senator Todd Young, Senator Mitt Romney, and Democratic Senator Ed Markey and Tim Kaine led the amendment in the Senate. In addition, the amendment allows Blinken to remove the ban if he determines doing so in the national interest of the country.