As China announced that it had received 18 visa applications from US officials planning to visit the Beijing 2022 Olympics in February despite the US President Joe Biden’s so-called ‘diplomatic boycott,’ the US State Department on Tuesday clarified that Washington was not sending a diplomatic representative to Beijing but “consular and diplomatic security services” for the assistance of the American athletes.
Calling the Chinese government-affiliated Global Times and Chinese newspaper South China Morning Post who published the report as ‘Chinese government propagandists’ the US side newspapers clarified that the officials sent to China will not attend the Games but will instead support athletes at the Winter Olympics as the two sides refuted each side’s misguided claims.
China ‘famous for spreading misinformation like COVID-19’s origin’: US media
Chinese media had reported that the US President’s move shows that the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Olympics is a “farce”. Meanwhile, the US State Department and White House National Security Council in a joint statement clarified that there has been no change to the US’ “diplomatic boycott” of Beijing games. United States-based newspaper New York Post condemned Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who, it said, has been famous for “spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic” alleging that the virus began in the US “rather than in Wuhan.”
American media lambasted Lijian for saying at a press conference that Biden’s boycott of the Olympic Games was a “farce” as it also cited statements from the US secretary of State Antony Blinken. “The US side has recently staged a farce with the goal of political manipulation and claimed that it will not send any diplomatic or official representatives to the Beijing Winter Olympics, even though it has in fact never been invited,” Zhao had said at the press conference. He then added, “We again call on the US side to practice the Olympic spirit, stop politicising sport and stop making further comments or actions that would interfere with or disrupt the Beijing Winter Olympics.”
Clarifying the visas, a statement from the two US agencies read that the United States intends to provide consular and diplomatic security services in China “to ensure our athletes, coaches, trainers, and staff are secure and have access to the American citizen services that we provide to all US citizens overseas.” It went on to add, “Any visa application would be for those consular and diplomatic security personnel. It is standard to have those personnel on the ground, and those personnel ‘do not constitute official or diplomatic representation at the Games’”.
Former US President Donald Trump also earlier acknowledged Biden’s decision of not banning the athletes from the Beijing 2022 Olympic games over protest against China’s human rights abuses against Uyghur, contrary to President Jimmy Carter’s move during the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. “I watched Jimmy Carter do it, and it was terrible. [It] hurts the athletes. There are much more powerful things we can do that — much, much more powerful things,” Trump told Fox news.
Just recently, the US House of Representatives approved the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act that economically sanctions Chinese goods sold to the United States made at internment camps in northwest China by the forced labour from the Uyghur minority community. The newly passed “Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act” bans all the imports into the US from Xinjiang unless the Biden administration can establish if they weren’t manufactured across industries with the forced labour of Uyghurs.