Ever since the United States announced its diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, other nations have followed, accusing China of egregious human rights violations. But some other Western nations have held off, indicating the games shouldn't be politicized, possibly fearing the wrath of an increasingly powerful China.

Here's where boycotts of next year's Olympics currently stand.


Nations that are boycotting

  • The United States: A U.S. delegation will not be sent to Beijing for the 2022 Olympics, the White House confirmed Monday.

    "The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics given the [People's Republic of China's] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

  • The United Kingdom: "There will be a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing," U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the British Parliament Wednesday. "No ministers are expected to attend, and no officials."

    Johnson ruled out a ban on athletes, stating that such boycotts are not "sensible."

  • Canada: Canada stated on Wednesday that it is joining the U.S. in boycotting the Beijing Olympics.

    "We are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government," Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa. "I don't think the decision by Canada or by many other countries to choose to not send diplomatic representation to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics is going to come as a surprise to China. We have been very clear over the past many years of our deep concerns around human rights violations."

    Canadian athletes will still be allowed to attend if they so desire.

  • Australia: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated Wednesday that Australian officials would not be attending the event alongside Australian athletes due to "human rights abuses" in China's Xinjiang province.

    Australia's decision may also be partly driven by economic tensions between the two nations. In June, China restricted imports from Australia through tariffs, bans, and other measures.

    Australian athletes will be allowed to compete if they desire.

  • New Zealand: Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said Tuesday that New Zealand will not send diplomats to China but claimed the move was not a response to the U.S. diplomatic boycott.

    "There was a range of factors but mostly to do with COVID, and the fact that the logistics of travel and so on around COVID are not conducive to that kind of trip," Robertson noted, adding the New Zealand's decision had been communicated in October.

    New Zealand athletes will still be allowed to compete if they desire.

  • Lithuania: The small European country confirmed its decision to diplomatically boycott China before the U.S. through a letter filed by the Lithuanian Parliament.

    Lithuania developed a strained relationship with China after it opened a representative office for Taiwan within its borders.

    Lithuanian athletes will still be allowed to compete if they desire.

Nations that aren't boycotting

  • France: France's Minister of National Education, Youth, and Sports confirmed Thursday the nation would not boycott China.

    "We must not politicize [the Olympics]," French Prime minister Emmanuel Macron said in a Thursday press conference. "As with all things on the international stage, I prefer to do things that have a useful effect."

  • Israel: An Israel high official told Haaretz the state does not intend to boycott China, calling the U.S. diplomatic boycott "bizarre."

Possible repercussions

While most nations appear undecided on the matter, China has already begun threatening countries who boycott, warning the U.S. could face unspecified "firm countermeasures" over its boycott.

"The United States, Britain, and Australia have used the Olympics platform for political manipulation," a spokesperson for China said Thursday, according to multiple outlets.

China also told multinational companies to sever ties with Lithuania or face a shutout in the Chinese market, Reuters reported Thursday. If companies are forced to choose between the U.S. and Chinese markets, there could be significant global economic implications.


The last time the U.S. boycotted the Olympics was the 1980 games in Moscow. The boycott was organized after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The U.S. was joined by a coalition of 65 nations, including Canada, Israel, Japan, China, and West Germany.