Written by Staff Writer
(CNN) — The White House has announced it is a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, in protest at the Chinese government’s construction of a massive ski jump that has been suspended after a string of accidents.
“The recent tragedy at Sichuan Ski Jumping is unacceptable and raises serious concerns about the safety of athletes competing in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing,” deputy press secretary Raj Shah said Wednesday.
“Based on what we know so far, we do not believe that the jump has met minimum medical standards required to permit the Games to go ahead. The Administration has joined a bipartisan group of Members of Congress to call on Beijing to immediately suspend the project, remove the starting jump, and rebuild its operations to the standards required for Olympic competition,” he said.
China suspended the ski jump with nine competitors still in competition after an 11-year-old girl was killed last month during practice.
Nine competitors were injured after a number of painful falls at the event, and the disaster prompted human rights activists and athletes to denounce China’s construction of the massive ski jump facility.
The incident coincided with a fresh human rights crackdown in China and a proposed new law that would tighten government control over the internet, which has put freedom of speech at risk.
“Some of the injuries to athletes were bad enough to require evacuation to a hospital,” Pierre-Olivier Herbert, president of the World Freestyle Ski Association, told CNN this week.
“We have shown, according to a number of documents, our concerns about the overall capability of the facility for the Olympics.”