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NEW YORK (December 7, 2021) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) welcomes the Biden administration’s announcement of a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to take place on February 4-20. HRF urges other democratic governments to join this diplomatic boycott.

Citing China’s abysmal human rights record, the Biden administration announced that the United States (US) would not send an official delegation to the Olympic Games in China. Among the human rights violations specified by the Biden administration were China’s mass detention camps in the Uyghur Region (Xinjiang), and its campaign of forced sterilization against the Uyghurs. Earlier this year, the US government formally recognized China’s treatment of the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities as amounting to genocide.

“When Beijing last held these global games in 2008, the Chinese government deceptively promised that it would improve its human rights record. Since then, we have unfortunately witnessed how it has, time and time again, completely failed to uphold this promise,” said HRF President Céline Assaf-Boustani. “Today, the Chinese government stands and acts as one of the world’s worst human rights violators.”

Below, HRF’s campaign at Art Basel Miami Beach 2021, in collaboration with Chinese dissident artist Badiucao, highlighting China’s human rights abuses.

Authoritarian regimes have historically weaponized global games such as the Olympics — along with the fame and skills of their athletes — to whitewash their human rights abuses. The glitz and glamor of victorious athletes has drowned out the suffering of millions of people living under dictatorships, and allows these regimes to grandstand on the world stage alongside leaders from democratic countries.

“By firmly taking a stand against the Chinese Communist regime, the Biden administration has shown that, in this instance, it will not serve as a puppet of the regime,” added Assaf-Boustani. “We call on democratic governments around the world to join the diplomatic boycott, and not give into the façade of legitimacy that the Chinese government aims to portray internationally by hosting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

As HRF remains strongly committed to its mission to promote liberal democracy in countries under authoritarian rule, democratic governments should demand respect for human rights as a condition for engagement with authoritarian regimes.


To learn more about the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government, read HRF’s report, 100 Years of Suppression: The CCP’s Strategies in Tibet, the Uyghur Region, and Hong Kong.

To learn more about how the Olympics can legitimize the rule of authoritarian regimes, read HRF CEO Thor Halvorssen and president of Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice Katrina Lantos Swett’s op-ed, Don’t Let Dictators Grandstand with World Leaders in Tokyo. Reclaim Olympics Values.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.