The Biden administration is expected to announce this week that no US government officials will attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, implementing a diplomatic boycott of the games, CNN reported citing sources. The move would allow the US to send a message on the world stage to China without preventing US athletes from competing. The National Security Council, which has been privately discussing the boycott, declined to comment, CNN reported. This comes after Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Tuesday said that China will successfully hold the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games on schedule, despite the worldwide spread of the new Omicron coronavirus strain.
The WHO, on November 27, named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’. The World Health Organization has warned the Omicron variant, which has already been confirmed in Europe, Canada, Israel and Hong Kong, may be more transmissible or evade immunity from previous infections and vaccines.
The Games are scheduled to begin on February 4, 2022. Meanwhile, Human rights activists have raised their voices against China’s detention of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province and crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
In March, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials and one entity for alleged human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to Sputnik.