US weighs joint approach to Beijing Games

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The Biden administration is consulting with allies about a joint approach to China and its human rights record, including how to handle the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, the US State Department says.

The department initially suggested that an Olympic boycott to protest China's rights abuses was among the possibilities but a senior official said later that a boycott had not yet been discussed.

The official said the US position on the 2022 Games had not changed but the administration was in frequent contact with allies and partners about their common concerns about China.

Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier the consultations were being held in order to present a united front.

"Part of our review of those Olympics and our thinking will involve close consultations with partners and allies around the world," Price told reporters on Tuesday.

Human rights groups are protesting China's hosting of the Games, which are set to start in February 2022. They have urged a diplomatic or straight-up boycott of the event to call attention to alleged Chinese abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans, and residents of Hong Kong.

Price declined to say when a decision on the Olympics might be made but noted there is still almost a year until the Games were set to begin.

The Beijing Winter Olympics open on February 4, 2022 and China has denied all charges of human rights abuses. It says "political motives" underlie the boycott effort.

Rights groups have met with the International Olympic Committee and have been told the Olympic body must stay politically "neutral".

They have been told by the IOC that China has given "assurances" about human rights conditions.

Both the IOC and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee have said in the past they oppose boycotts.