The White House has announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. But this is nothing more than a weak symbolic stand, and it's evident the administration would rather ignore China's human rights record than have to address it.

A diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics was the least the United States could do. No one is going to miss U.S. government officials at the opening ceremonies. It has no effect on anything but China’s fragile international pride, which can easily be papered over by the grand spectacle they will surely put on. As White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted, it certainly isn't something that shows “it cannot be business as usual.”

The U.S. should have announced a total boycott of the Beijing Games and worked with allies to orchestrate an alternate competition. This way, the International Olympic Committee could be punished for its obeisance to China while ensuring athletes didn’t miss out on a chance to compete. Instead, we get a weak show of disapproval that changes nothing.

The administration’s weak display of protest on China’s human rights abuses is made worse by how it’s handling the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The bill passed the Senate unanimously in July. The House passed its own version of the bill last year by a 406-3 margin, and Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern said the House would vote on the bill this week.

But the bill is stalling, thanks to the Biden administration dragging its feet. Nike and Apple, among other companies, have lobbied against the bill, and it appears the administration is siding with them over Congress and human rights activists. Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin wrote that sources in the Biden administration confirmed the administration is trying to slow progress on the bill. That includes a call from Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to bill co-sponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, urging a more deliberative approach.

The White House insists it isn’t trying to water down the bill, but it’s hard to see it any other way. What isn’t hard to see is why the administration would be doing that in the first place. A key component in solar cells is produced in Xinjiang, where China is carrying out its genocide of the Uyghurs. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi and climate czar John Kerry have made clear, climate change takes priority over genocide and forced labor when it comes to China.

If the administration had shown any willingness to address China’s human rights abuses, a diplomatic boycott could be excused as a modest but necessary step. But making a big show of it, combined with pushing back on a bill that would address forced labor in Xinjiang, shows that isn’t the administration’s priority.