U.S. diplomats to boycott Olympics over 'atrocities'

The White House said on Monday the U.S. will not send government officials to the upcoming Beijing Olympics due to China's human rights "atrocities," after Beijing pledged unspecified "countermeasures" against any diplomatic boycott.

"The Biden administration 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."

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the diplomatic boycott sends a clear message, but would not prevent American athletes from attending, which she said would penalize athletes who have prepared for years.

"The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home."

President Joe Biden said last month that he was considering a boycott amid criticism of China's human rights record, including what Washington says is genocide against minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang.

Earlier on Monday, China's Foreign Ministry called any boycotts by politicians grandstanding.

ZHAO LIJIAN (Mandarin): "No one cares whether they come or not, and it has no influence on Beijing's success in hosting the Winter Olympics."

China's embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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