USA set to announce boycott of Chinese Winter Olympics over concerns for Peng Shuai
The USA are reportedly set to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games this week in response to the censorship of Peng Shuai and her sexual assault allegations.
This potential boycott comes after concerns for Peng Shuai reached a global level, with the European Union requesting that China provide “verifiable proof” of Peng’s safety and freedom.
WTA CEO and chairman Steve Simon also announced that the WTA will withdraw all events from China, including the prestigious WTA Finals, due to China’s failure and refusal to cooperate with their requests.
The WTA had been calling for a “full, fair and transparent investigation” and assurances as to Peng’s well-being and full freedom following her public disappearance after accusing former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her into a sexual relationship.
In a meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month, President of the United States Joe Biden previously admitted that a diplomatic boycott was “something we’re considering.”
The Biden administration have since been deliberating on the matter and now look set to announce their decision this week.
The diplomatic boycott would allow American athletes to compete at the Olympics but would mean American politicians and diplomats would not attend any Olympic events, including the opening and closing ceremonies.
The boycott would allow the US to send a message to China on a global level without hindering or outright preventing American athletes from competing at the games.
White House spokesperson and US Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that “there are areas that we do have concerns: human rights abuses.
“We have serious concerns about the human rights abuses we’ve seen in XinXiang (North China) and certainly there are a range of factors as we look at what our presence would be.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a press conference that “the US should stop politicizing sports and hyping up the so-called ‘diplomatic boycott’ so as not to affect China-US dialogue and cooperation in important areas.
“If the U.S. insists in wilfully clinging to its course, China will take resolute countermeasures.”
Zhao also labelled the USA’s talks of a boycott as “a stain on the spirit of the Olympic charter” and a “sensationalist and politically manipulative” move made by US politicians.
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