U.S. to Diplomatically Boycott Beijing Olympics, China Promises 'Resolute Countermeasures'

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Monday that the U.S. will not send a diplomatic delegation to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China.

"The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the [People's Republic of China's] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," Psaki told reporters.

The boycott does not extend to athletes, and Psaki added that competitors will have the country's "full support." The winter event will kick off on Friday, February 4.

"We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home," she said. "We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games. U.S. 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."

President Joe Biden sent a delegation of administration officials to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games this past summer. First Lady Jill Biden attended the games, cheering on athletes in swimming and basketball.

WH Confirms Diplomatic Boycott 2022 Olympics
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Monday that the U.S. will not send a diplomatic delegation to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China. In this photo, athletes celebrate at a test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at National Ski Jumping Centre on December 4, 2021, in Zhangjiakou, China. Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

China called such a move "political posturing and manipulation" ahead of the White House's announcement.

"If the U.S. is bent on having its own way, China will take resolute countermeasures," foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on Monday, according to AFP.

When asked why the U.S. didn't go further and bar athletes from competing, Psaki said the administration believes a diplomatic boycott sends a "clear message."

"At the same time, we believe U.S. athletes, people who have been training, giving up a lot of blood, sweat, tears preparing for these Olympics should be able to go and compete," Psaki said.

Biden raised human rights concerns during his call with China's Xi Jinping last month, but the two leaders didn't discuss an Olympic boycott. China has been widely criticized for detaining and abusing Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The nation's actions against the Uyghurs have been classified as genocide by the U.S. State Department.

Xi told Biden that China was ready to have a dialogue on the issue of human rights, but said he opposed "using human rights as a pretext to meddle in other countries' internal affairs."

Recently, China has also come under scrutiny in light of tennis star Peng Shuai's allegations of sexual assault.

Update 12/06/21, 2:15 p.m. ET: This article was updated with more information and background.