In the US, the diplomatic boycott was praised by both Democratic and Republican politicians. Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the US and the world could not “proceed as if there is nothing wrong with holding the Olympics in a country perpetrating genocide”. Some US politicians, however, said the diplomatic boycott was not enough, with Republican Senator Tom Cotton calling it a “half measure” and arguing that the administration should have opted to “fully boycott” the games.
Other countries – including Canada – have indicated they are considering the move. UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said his country would decide “in due course” whether to join the boycott, adding that he would not personally attend the Olympics. Officials in Japan and Australia have also said they are discussing the measure. Lithuania announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics last week after China downgraded relations with the country over a row about Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan part of China, but Taiwan sees itself as an independent.
New Zealand, meanwhile, said its officials would not attend due to concerns about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “But we’ve made clear to China on numerous occasions our concerns about human rights,” Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told reporters. The Biden administration’s diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics falls far short of a previous US boycott in 1980 when it pulled its athletes out of the Moscow Olympics to protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the previous year.
The Soviet Union and its allies, in turn, boycotted the following 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles. A Kremlin spokesman condemned the new US boycott, saying the Olympics should be “free of politics”. The US is itself due to hold the Summer Olympics in 2028 in Los Angeles.