Beijing Winter Olympics 2022
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
The United States will be granted visas for 46 officials to travel to the Beijing Winter Olympics, a source has said. Photo: dpa

Exclusive | China ‘will issue visas’ for US Olympic delegation despite diplomatic boycott

  • List of 18 American officials seeking visas for the Beijing-hosted Winter Games has expanded to 46, which will be approved, according to a source
  • Diplomat urged US not to politicise the Games, source says, as Washington insists its boycott stands, describing its delegation as consular support
China has agreed to grant visas to 46 US officials for next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, and reiterated its call for Washington to stop politicising the event, a source said.
The South China Morning Post reported last month that the US government had submitted three-month applications for 18 people for the Games, just weeks after the White House confirmed it would carry out a diplomatic boycott of the event.

A source familiar with the situation said that the list had expanded to 46 officials, most of whom worked for the Department of State.

“During a recent meeting between Jing Quan [the third-ranking diplomat at China’s Washington embassy] and Laura Rosenberger [senior director for China at the US National Security Council], the Chinese side indicated that it had approved visas for the US delegation,” said the source, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter.


US applies for 18 officials to attend Beijing Olympics despite boycott announcement

US applies for 18 officials to attend Beijing Olympics despite boycott announcement

Jing had urged the American side to “stop politicising sports and the Olympic Games” through the diplomatic boycott, the source said.

Beijing has said the planned visit by the US officials defeated the purpose of a boycott. Washington said the listed people were not official representatives but would attend the Games for security and medical support.

The White House had announced on December 6 that it would not send an official delegation, in protest at China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang”.
The US put further pressure on Beijing when Biden signed into law a measure effectively banning all imports from Xinjiang, in China’s far west, over allegations of forced labour.

The UK, Canada, Australia and Japan have since announced diplomatic boycotts of the Olympics. Other nations, such as the Netherlands, have said they will not send diplomatic representatives but stressed it was not a political boycott.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is to attend the Games, and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that preparations were being made for Putin’s trip. He said that Putin would attend the opening ceremony of the Games, and that officials from the two nations were discussing concerns about Covid-19 pandemic control measures.

The US embassy said on Tuesday that the Biden administration’s position remained unchanged and the American delegation would provide consular and diplomatic security services to the country’s athletes.

“Our position [that] we announced [in December] remains our position and will not be changing: we will not have any diplomatic or official representation, given [China’s] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses. Any suggestion otherwise is false.

“We intend to provide consular and diplomatic security services to ensure our athletes, coaches, trainers and staff are secure and have access to the American citizen services that we provide to all US citizens overseas.

“Any visa applications would be for those consular and diplomatic security personnel. It is standard to have those personnel on the ground, and those personnel do not constitute official or diplomatic representation at the Games.”

In addition to human rights, China and the United States are locking horns over a wide range of issues, including both sides’ military operations in the disputed South China Sea, Washington’s alliance-building in the region, and its support for Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province.