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The US administration is reportedly set to fire a major diplomatic shot at China.
According to a report in the Washington Post, Joe Biden is preparing to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
Neither the president, nor any US officials will attend the Games, which are due to commence in less than three months.
The report cited several sources with knowledge of the decision, which is seen as a way to highlight and condemn China's human rights violations in a manner that does not adversely affect US athletes.
In February, more than 180 human rights groups called for a full boycott of the China-held Olympics, urging countries not to send athletes to the event. The groups cited the ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people, as well as China's aggression, political crackdown and intimidation of Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan as reasons for demanding a boycott.
The expected move by the US comes after high-profile member congressman Mitt Romney made the case for an economic and diplomatic boycott of the event in the pages on the New York Times in March.
He urged the Biden administration to follow through with the plan following the Washington Post report this morning.
"It’s unacceptable that China gets to host the Olympics while the CCP commits genocide against Uyghurs. I've long-advocated for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games and I'm hopeful that the Administration will send a strong message to the CCP, without punishing US athletes," he wrote on Twitter.
It comes just hours after the US and Chinese leaders held talks amid increasingly troubled bilateral relations, a trend which was at least momentarily halted by a joint pledge at the COP 26 climate summit.
The Beijing Winter Olympics were not discussed as part of the call between Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said on Tuesday (local time).
In Australia, independent senator Rex Patrick is among those who have previously been calling for a boycott from Australia, including the possibility of compensation to athletes who miss out on attending – something the government and olympic committee did not ultimately support.
"What's happening in China is particularly concerning, it crosses a line Australians ought not to accept," he said in October last year.
"We shouldn't have our own athletes standing up lending their good names and their good character to a regime that has conducted itself in the manner that it has."
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