Olympics
Olympics Reuters

The United States will not send government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics due to China's human rights "atrocities," the White House announced on Monday, according to Reuters.

The announcement came after Beijing threatened unspecified "countermeasures" against any diplomatic boycott.

President Joe Biden said last month that he was considering such a boycott amid criticism of China's human rights record, including what Washington says is genocide against minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang.

The move comes despite a recent effort to stabilize ties, with a video meeting last month between Biden and China's leader Xi Jinping.

"The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC's ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told a daily press briefing, according to Reuters.

"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 said, referring to the People's Republic of China.

The diplomatic boycott, which has been encouraged by some members of the US Congress and rights advocacy groups for months, would not affect the attendance of American athletes, she said.

"The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the United States has been consulting with allies on a "shared approach" to the Beijing Games, though it was unclear if any other countries would follow the US lead.

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