EXPLAINER: Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and some options

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A protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey holds up an anti-China placard during a protest against the visit of China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Turkey, in Istanbul, Thursday, March 25, 2021. Hundreds protested against the Chinese official visit and what they allege is oppression by the Chinese government to Muslim Uyghurs in the far-western Xinjiang province. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

The U.S. State Department says it's talking with allies about China's human rights record and how to handle next year's Beijing Winter Olympics.

A department spokesman on Tuesday suggested that an Olympic boycott to protest China’s rights abuses was among the possibilities. But a senior official said later that a boycott has not yet been discussed.

Human rights groups are protesting China’s hosting of the games, which open on Feb. 4, 2022. They have urged a diplomatic or straight-up boycott to call attention to alleged Chinese abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans and residents of Hong Kong.

Activists are also reaching out to national Olympic committees, athletes and sponsors after failing to get the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee to move the games out of China.

Beijing is the first city to win the right to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The 2008 Beijing Olympics were held with the hope of improving human rights in the country.

POSITION OF IOC AND CHINA

President Thomas Bach says the IOC must stay out of politics, although it holds observer status at the United Nations and Bach has touted his own efforts to unite the two Koreas at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“We are not a super-world government where the IOC could solve or even address issues for which not the U.N. security council, no G7, no G20 has solutions,” Bach told a news conference last month. He has repeated the IOC must stay “neutral.”