The US said its diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics stands after China announced that officials from the American government had applied for visas.
Any visa applications were for consular and security personnel, a State Department spokesperson said Tuesday in a statement, adding that it was routine to provide athletes, coaches and others with access to services enjoyed by Americans abroad.
The US won’t change its decision to refrain from sending diplomatic or official representatives to the Olympics in February, according to the statement.
The Biden administration announced the boycott earlier this month, citing “crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses.” Australia, Canada and the UK followed Washington’s move, and Japan said it won’t send any government representatives, though it avoided the words “diplomatic boycott.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing on Monday that Beijing had received visa applications from US officials for the Olympics. He made the comments after being asked about reports Washington would send people from the State Department and others to the event.
At a similar briefing on Tuesday, Zhao said that while the US announced it wouldn’t send an official delegation, “there are many visa applications from officials from the State Department and Pentagon. Such remarks are truly confounding.”
Beijing has repeatedly and vociferously denied the genocide accusation leveled at its handling of the far western region of Xinjiang, home to a large Muslim Uyghur population. China insists it is providing job training and educational opportunities while quelling terrorism.