U.S. to Boycott 2022 Olympics in Beijing


Chinese protestors to stop the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. December 6, 2021. The U.S. has announced they will not be sending official delegation to Beijing for the Olympics. (Frederic J. Brown/@americanpost)

The U.S. has announced that it will not be sending any government officials to Beijing in the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

Due to the human rights crisis in the Xinjiang region and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the United States government has made the decision to not involve itself in the upcoming Olympics. While Americans will be allowed to participate in the games, President Biden and Congress have made it clear that no officials will be sent.  

In the Xinjiang region of China, there is a huge population of Uygur Muslims (many different tribes of Turkik speaking individuals) who are being detained in camps to “re-educate” them. Over a million Muslims are subject to these camps in which they are forced into labor, tortured and inculated. China has stated that these policies were set to better the tension between ethnicities and reduce the possibilities of terrorism in the region. The UK and the U.S. have deemed Muslim treatment in China as genocide because of the extreme ways in which they are being contained and treated in the country.

Not only does China have a problem with the treatment of Uygur Muslims but the democracy struggle has also become a huge issue for citizens. Because China is predominantly communist, Chinese citizens struggle with the freedom to live comfortably without government intervention. Protesters are constantly shunned and many mysteriously disappear. 

Along with the U.S. and the UK, many other countries such as New Zealand and Australia will not be sending officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics. However, this is not the first, there have been boycotts against certain countries for the Olympics. In 1980, the U.S. boycotted the Olympics in Moscow because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. As a response, in 1984, the Soviet Union and its allies did not attend the Olympics held in Los Angeles. The major difference between the boycotts in the early 80s and now, is that before, the U.S. did not take into consideration the athletes who have been training for the event. Now, they have addressed that only official delegates will not be attending the Olympics but athletes are allowed to compete.

Because of the government’s decision, athletes have been torn between whether or not to compete in the Olympics. For some, they believe the human rights issue is way more important than competing, but for others, while they have sympathy for the Uyghur people in China, they have been training all their lives to compete in the Olympics.

College athlete, Queen Mirandilla had some thoughts about the U.S’ decision.

“It is always important to advocate for human rights, and I support our government condemning China’s oppression and systematic genocide of the Uyghur people,” Mirandilla stated. “However, this diplomatic boycott can only do so much. Though there would be an escalation of tension between the two countries, I support a ‘full’ boycott or something that would cause an immediate change.”

Although opinions may vary from an Olympian to an ordinary citizen, Mirandilla has a point about the tensions that are caused when countries boycott others. China has responded by stating how they feel better about the absence of U.S. officials because they do not want them to bring COVID-19 into the country.

The U.S. and China have not been on good terms for many decades and the pandemic only made the relationship worse. Although this decision may have created more tension, the choice to boycott China’s human rights crisis may have been the right choice, but to what extent does it change how the country will deal with future conflicts?