Who’s Going To The Games: Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman On Guest List For Olympics As U.S. And Other Western Diplomats Boycott

When Chinese President Xi Jinping helps open the Winter Games in Beijing on Friday, dozens of world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also are expected to attend.

The guest list also includes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, Singapore’s President President Halimah Yacob and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Also attending: Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar.

Missing, of course, will be U.S. officials, along with other diplomats from Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia and other countries. They are boycotting over human rights abuses in China, citing the repression of the Uyghur population and genocide against ethnic minorities. The boycott is a diplomatic one, meaning that U.S. athletes will still compete, but it has changed the tenor of the Games, along with Covid restrictions. There also is a geopolitical crisis developing, what Russia’s buildup of troops along the Ukrainian border. Putin is to meet with Xi ahead of the ceremony.

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On Thursday, just as the Olympic events are starting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other activists spoke at a hearing, “The Beijing Olympics and the Faces of Repression.”

Pelosi said that the International Olympic Committee, “aided by corporate sponsors, once again turns a blind eye with the 2022 Winter Olympics just to bolster their bottom lines…If we do not speak out against human rights violations in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out against human rights violations anywhere.”

Other countries that are joining the diplomatic boycott include Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. France has said that it would not join the boycott, but will send two representatives, according to ABC News.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters this week that President Joe Biden would still be watching the games. “We are looking forward to it and to cheering on our American athletes who will be competing,” she said.


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