Joe Biden’s current position regarding America’s participation in the upcoming winter Olympics in China was sharply criticized Monday by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) as a “half-measure.” Cotton blasted Biden’s decision as it will still mean sending U.S. athletes to participate in the games.
Cotton said that “bold leadership” was needed rather than the in-between position Biden has stated. He said that America should “fully boycott the Genocide Games” in 2022 and that U.S. private businesses should not support the Chinese Communist Party financially. He went on to suggest that sending American athletes to China exposes them to the “dangers of a repugnant authoritarian regime that disappears its athletes.”
Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki had said earlier on Monday that the administration would be imposing a “diplomatic boycott” of the winter games because of the “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity” along with human rights abuses being carried out in Xinjiang. Psaki explained that the boycott would mean the U.S. would send athletes. It would not send any government officials to the Olympics to “avoid validating a perception” that the games are “business as usual.”
Several members of Congress have been calling for a complete boycott for several months. The primary objection to participation is the Chinese government’s systematic oppression of the Uyghur Muslims. The disappearance of Chinese women’s tennis star Peng Shuai last month after she accused a government official of physical harassment has added to the calls for a boycott.
Zhao Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said that the U.S. is “grandstanding” by threatening a boycott and promised that China would take “firm countermeasures” against such action. He also described the boycott as “outright political provocation.”
Australia, Canada, the U.K., and other American allies consider boycotts of the upcoming Beijing games, whether full or diplomatic.