The United States is not considering a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, according to a State Department spokesperson who responded to reports that U.S. athletes may not go to the quadrennial Games next year over concerns about China’s human rights record.
Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Tuesday that a possible boycott was “on the agenda” and “something that we certainly wish to discuss” with allies. He later added that the United States is still consulting allies.
State Department officials, however, later denied that a boycott of the Games is under consideration.
“Our position on the 2022 Olympics has not changed. We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners,” an unidentified senior State Department official told a television network.
Over the past month, some diplomats in Beijing have discussed a possible boycott as leading business brands came under attack for statements on human rights abuses in the far west Chinese region of Xinjiang.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Wednesday that any U.S. criticism of China over Xinjiang are “doomed to be a flop” and would be met with “firm rejection.”
A boycott would harm the interests of athletes and “runs counter to the spirit of the Olympic charter,” he added. SOVEREIGNPH