Political Tensions Pose Possible U.S. Boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics

President Biden is considering a diplomatic boycott from the 2022 Winter Olympics held in Beijing, China.


Israel Gonzalez, Contributor

President Joe Biden is considering a diplomatic boycott of next year’s 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of China’s human rights abuses and the disappearance of former pro tennis player Peng Shuai.

Amid ongoing tensions with China, the boycott debate has emerged after the disappearance of Peng Shuai. In her own right, Peng Shuai was the former number top-ranked women’s doubles tennis player in the world, a three-time Olympian, and a 23-time champion in major competitions. Peng Shuai’s apparent disappearance came after accusing a former top politburo, an executive committee for communist parties present in both former and existing communist states, member of forcing her to have sex with him. After taking on one of China’s most powerful men with sexual assault allegations, Peng Shuai was silenced through her erasure by China’s heavily controlled media. In Peng Shuai’s last few public appearances, she was seen awkwardly smiling as Chinese officials intended to diffuse what has become an international scandal. 

Peng Shuai has not been seen since November 21st, raising concerns about her whereabouts around the world. Chinese officials have not cooperated with the investigation, prompting questions about Chinese authorities. Many believe that the Chinese government forced Peng Shuai to “disappear” in order to avoid revolt against government officials. Instead of being praised and honored, Peng Shuai, once called the “Chinese princess”, has now become another example of China’s harsh rule over society. Not only is this concerning to those attending the upcoming Winter Olympics but it is also a dangerous situation for Chinese citizens who dare challenge the regime. In Peng Shuai’s case, even those who gave light and accomplishment to the country.

China’s recent controversy and ongoing tension amongst other countries have prompted a global outcry to boycott the Olympics. President Biden has suggested a diplomatic boycott to protest China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority. However, the disappearance of Shuai has become another of many reasons why U.S. officials are considering a boycott. In President Biden’s first summit, he spoke with the President of China Xi Jangping about multiple situations between the U.S and China; the topic of boycotting the Olympics was not touched. A boycott, however, is predicated to reignite ongoing tension between the United States and China that could influence other countries and create more global tensions. A U.S. boycott would not mean that American athletes will not attend Beijing. American athletes are allowed to attend the games but American officials will not.

However, the U.S. is not the only country considering boycott. Several countries are contemplating the idea, which would make the 2022 Winter Olympics the seventh Olympics to be boycotted due to political and societal problems.