10 Things in Politics: Biden boycotts China’s Olympics

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Here’s what we’re talking about:

US officials plan to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics
An important school-board group is unraveling after it sent a letter to Biden likening threats against school officials to ‘domestic terrorism and hate crimes’
New York is set to impose a sweeping vaccine mandate

1. FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: President Joe Biden won’t be cheering Team USA on in Beijing. In 2008, President George W. Bush traveled to China’s capital, the first time a sitting US president attended the Olympic Games abroad, but relations between the world’s two largest economies have cratered in recent years. Now, the US is staging a full diplomatic boycott of the winter games that begin in February.

Here’s where things stand as China approaches another moment on the world stage:

This is about China’s human-rights record: “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,” the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters. She is referring to the Chinese Communist Party’s repression of Uyghur Muslims, which human-rights groups have called crimes against humanity.

And it’s not a 1980s reboot: Psaki made clear Team USA athletes would still compete, a departure from President Jimmy Carter’s decision not to send the team to the Summer Olympics in Moscow over the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Sixty-five nations refused to send athletes, but Carter’s decision remains controversial. Just last year, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said the affected athletes “deserved better.”

China and the US continue to be at loggerheads: Before the White House formally announced its decision, the Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian vowed that Beijing would take “resolute countermeasures.” So far, no other nation has explicitly joined the diplomatic boycott. New Zealand is not sending government officials, but Reuters reports their absence is mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan, Australia, and some European countries are all mulling boycotts.

At the same time, China is said to be eyeing major advances: “Classified American intelligence reports suggest China intends to establish its …read more


Source:: Business Insider

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