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U.S. expected to announce diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing

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A general view of the National Cross-Country centre during the FIS Continental Cup Nordic Combined 2021/2022, part of a 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games test event in Zhangjiakou city, China on December 5, 2021

Wang Zhao | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration is expected to announce a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing this week, a senior administration official said late Sunday.

A diplomatic boycott would mean that no U.S. government officials would attend the games but that U.S. athletes would still be allowed to compete.

A full boycott was not expected.

CNN first reported the news of the expected announcement.

The Biden administration has been under pressure from lawmakers to institute the diplomatic boycott. They have wanted to take a stand against China’s human rights abuses.

President Joe Biden said last month that the administration was considering the move.

China has been criticized for cracking down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, for its policies toward Tibet and Taiwan, and for detaining and abusing Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

The State Department, along with some European countries, has classified China’s actions against Uyghurs as “genocide.”

“We have serious concerns about the human rights abuses that we’ve seen,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month.

Chinese government officials have warned of a “robust Chinese response” should the U.S. or other countries launch boycotts.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.

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