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US Boycott of 2022 Beijing Olympics

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Talk of a "new Cold War" and heightened "Great Power Competition" between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC), has recently stoked debate about whether the United States should boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to be held in Beijing. (See this Council on Foreign Relations brief on the boycott debate)

Governments and human rights activists have pointed to the PRC's human rights abuses as a particular reason why Western governments should decide not to let China profit off its athletes, and US allies -- particularly Canada -- have suggested that their athletes themselves may not be safe in China.

There is precedent for Olympic boycotts, including during the Cold War, but little evidence that such boycotts work in the sense of getting states to change their policies.

US government spokespeople have said as recently as April 2021 that they were not discussing a boycott with allies and partners.

Will the United States boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics?

The question will resolve if the US Olympic team is not represented at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. If the US and partners decide to hold an alternative to the games outside China, it will be considered a "boycott." If individual athletes on the US team boycott the games, but the US team is officially participating, it will not be considered a "US boycott."

This question will close retroactively 24 hours before an official spokesperson for the US team or State Department announces that the US team will boycott.

If the Olympics are postponed, any winter olympics event happening between 2022-2025 (inclusive) in China will be considered "The 2022 Beijing Olympics".

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