US President Joe Biden's administration is signalling it currently has no plans to bar American athletes' participation at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, despite mounting calls for the Games to be moved over China's human rights record.
A coalition of 180 rights advocacy groups and politicians have made demands for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take the event out of China, casting a pall on Beijing's efforts to highlight the Games as Thursday marks one year from opening day.
The IOC has largely ignored the demands and says it's only a sporting body that does not get involved with politics.
A group of US senators on Tuesday introduced a resolution with a call to move the Games after the US designation that the Chinese government was perpetrating genocide against Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region.
That decision was made in the final days of Donald Trump's presidency.
"We're not currently talking about changing our posture or our plans as it relates to the Beijing Olympics," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a news briefing on Wednesday.
"We consult, of course, closely with allies and partners at all levels to define our common concerns and establish a shared approach, but there is no discussion underway of a change in our plans from the United States at this point in time," she said.
The White House and the State Department, asked repeatedly in recent days whether the Biden administration supported moving the Games, referred reporters to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) for further comment.
"We oppose Games boycotts because they have been shown to negatively impact athletes while not effectively addressing global issues," the USOPC said in a statement.
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday slammed the IOC, saying its "failure to publicly confront Beijing's serious human rights violations makes a mockery of its own commitments and claims that the Olympics are a 'force for good'."
Politicians and activists targeted China with boycott campaigns before its hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympics, but then President George W. Bush attended the opening ceremonies in Beijing.
There has been speculation that the Biden administration could push it to seek allied backing for a boycott in 2022, something a US president has not done since Jimmy Carter blocked American athletes from attending the 1980 Summer Games in the former Soviet Union.
Australian Associated Press