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US Imposes Diplomatic Boycott for 2022 Beijing Olympics

Beijing Olympics
The National Stadium will host the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Credit: Slices of Light, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The United States announced on Monday that it will hold a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. The upcoming Winter Olympics will be held in China’s National Stadium in Beijing.

The U.S. justified its boycott by referencing China’s “egregious” human rights abuses. The Chinese government said it would respond to the boycott with “resolute countermeasures.”

“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the (People’s Republic of China’s) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses,” the White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

“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,” Psaki added.

Psaki clarified that the diplomatic boycott, which has been promoted by various members of the US Congress in anticipation of the Olympics, would have no bearing on the participation of American athletes, who she said have the “full support” of President Biden.

Greece hands over Olympic flame for Beijing Olympics

Greece handed over the Olympic flame for the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing to its organizers during a ceremony in the historic Panathenaic Stadium in Athens in October.

The ceremony, which took place 24 hours after the lighting of the flame in Ancient Olympia near the Temple of Hera, was held under strict conditions, with only a limited delegation and no spectators present. In addition, the traditional torch relay through Greece could not take place, due to the coronavirus.

The Greek priestesses entered the arena and watched on as Greece’s Εvi Moraitidou, a silver medalist at the Athens Olympics in 2004 in water polo, brought the flame into the stadium.

China’s Li Nina, Olympic silver medalist in freestyle skiing in both 2006 and 2010, then continued the lap of the historic track before handing the torch to Paraskevi Ladopoulou, a cross-country and biathlon athlete from Greece, who will compete in Beijing 2022 in cross-country.

As a symbol of peace, unity and solidarity, the Olympic flame conveys the values of the Olympic movement to all those who see it on its travels. The flame will help build anticipation amongst Olympic fans eager to witness the world’s best winter sports stars in action, while also inspiring thousands of athletes who are making their final preparations for these Games.

Olympic flame conveys “message of peace and friendship”

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Spyros Capralos of the International Olympic Committee said: “This unique flame will convey a message of peace and friendship. But it will also carry with it the respect and goodwill of the Greek towards the Chinese people. Two nations that count thousands of years of history and close relations.”

He continued: “Yesterday, the Olympic flame spent the night on the Acropolis, the ultimate symbol of Greece, but also of culture and democracy worldwide. From here, it sent its powerful radiance to the 206 NOCs – members of the International Olympic Committee.”

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