The United States would discuss a joint boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China with its allies and partners, State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Why is this important: A boycott of the Olympics by the United States and its allies could help persuade international legal institutions to investigate allegations of genocide in Xinjiang, human rights lawyer Djaouida Siaci told Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian of ‘Axios.
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The context: It would be the first US Olympic boycott since Moscow in 1980 and comes as the Biden administration tries to hold Beijing responsible for its sweeping campaign against ethnic minorities in far western Xinjiang.
What they say: “[A joint boycott] is something we certainly want to discuss, “said Price.” A coordinated approach will not only be in our best interests, but also in the best interests of our allies and partners.
“So that’s one of the issues that’s on the agenda, both now and in the future, and when we have something to announce, we’ll be sure to do it.”
Later Tuesday, a senior State Department official told Axios: “Our stance on the 2022 Olympics has not changed. We have not discussed and are not discussing a joint boycott with allies and partners. – State Department speech did not say we had, contrary to some reports. “
“As the Department said, we regularly discuss common concerns vis-à-vis the PRC with our allies and partners. We will continue to do so, recognizing that a shared approach will always be in our interest,” added the manager.
Between the lines: Secretary of State Tony Blinken warned Beijing last month that the United States was ready to “push back”:
“China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undermine democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and claim maritime claims in the South China Sea which violate international law. ”
The big picture: The US, UK, European Union and Canada all announced sanctions in March against Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims.
And after: Pay attention to whether Beijing is seeking to pressure US companies and Olympic Games sponsors.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional comments from a State Department spokesperson, and to remove references to the International Criminal Court.
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