“We’ve heard the many concerns around the world about the prospect of those Olympics given the actions that China has taken both at home in terms of its abuse of human rights when it comes to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, other minorities, or, of course, what’s happening in Hong Kong, the increasing tensions as a result of its actions with regard to Taiwan,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told an outlet in Japan while traveling.
“And we’ve heard a lot of those concerns, and we will continue to talk to other countries around the world to hear what they’re thinking, and at the appropriate time we’ll decide what to do. But for now, we’re just listening to the concerns we’ve heard expressed from many countries around the world.”
A number of prominent voices in the United States have urged the Biden administration to consider a full or partial boycott of the Winter Olympics, given how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is committing what U.S. officials have described as a genocide against the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim Turkic ethnic group.
Both President Joe Biden and Blinken have agreed with the genocide assessment.
The CCP is also carrying out other human rights abuses, such as the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual group and a continued crackdown on Christians.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) recently asked Biden to meet with him to discuss his efforts to relocate the 2022 Games.
“Under no circumstance should the global community give Communist China an international platform to whitewash its crimes, which is what will happen if they are allowed to host the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing,” Scott wrote.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) recently floated an economic and diplomatic boycott, while allowing athletes to participate in the Beijing Olympics.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Feb. 25 that the United States hasn’t made a “final decision” on the country’s participation in the Olympics, adding that it would look for “guidance from the U.S. Olympic Committee.” Earlier in the month, Psaki signaled that there were no plans to boycott the Games.
Blinken and Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan are set to meet with Chinese officials in Alaska on March 18. It will be the first high-level in-person meeting between the two nations since Biden took office.
Cathy He and Frank Fang contributed to this report.