The White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the boycott on Monday, saying that the administration would not contribute to the "fanfare" of the Olympics.
"The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," she said.
Ms. Psaki also added- "the athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind 100 per cent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games. U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these Games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang. And we simply can’t do that."
A diplomatic boycott means that no government officials of the U.S would now attend the 2022 Olympics, but the American athletes would still be allowed to compete.
China's embassy in Washington called the boycott "political manipulation" that would have no impact on the Games as no invitations had been extended to U.S. politicians.
"No one would care about whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever on the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics to be successfully held," said spokesman Liu Pengyu, quoted by Reuters.
On Chinese social media platform Weibo, the search topic "US diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics" has been censored as of Tuesday morning.
Most of the comments below a post on the announcement by state media outlet Global Times were also deleted, leaving only eight out of close to 1,500 comments untouched.
"The Olympics are for athletes, what does it have to do with... politicians? Even if you boycott, the only people you're hurting are your own countrymen (including athletes)," one such comment read.
In the US, the diplomatic boycott was welcomed by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Other countries, including the UK and Australia, are said to be considering boycotts.
The last time the United States took such a measure was in 1980 when Washington fully boycotted the Moscow Olympics to protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the previous year. The Soviet Union and its allies, in turn, boycotted the following 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles.