WASHINGTON β€” For months, Democrats, Republicans and human rights activists have pushed President Joe Biden to use February's Olympics in Beijing as a platform to rebuke China, with critics and allies urging him to prohibit American athletes from participating. Instead, Biden chose to ban government officials but not athletes from attending the Winter Olympics, and the White House is framing that measure as an effort to demonstrate his disapproval of Beijing's campaign against Uyghurs, its violent crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong and its threat to take over Taiwan. As its influence on the world stage grows, China has loomed increasingly large in the U.S. political arena. Voters see China through the prism of economic competition for wages and offshoring of jobs, and candidates are vying to tap into the part of the American psyche that sees China as a threat to the national goal of maintaining U.S. hegemonic power. Biden's effort is still being criticized as a half-measure, from both sides of the partisan divide, illustrating the challenge he faces at home as he tries to calibrate effective responses to China's rise as a global power. White House officials describe his new policy as "straightforward," even though it took a while to arrive at it. "It should not be a surprise that we would not go," a senior administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the president's deliberations. "But we also wanted to take the time to consult with our allies and partners so they were aware of our thinking and decision." Those allies haven't rushed to join the diplomatic boycott, but many lawmakers are applauding his decision. A large screen show President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in a virtual summit during a CCTV news broadcast outside a shopping mall in Beijing on Nov. 16. Kevin Frayer / Getty Images file "It's the right move to make to show that we will not go to Beijing and lend our credibility to their government, or to the Games that they're producing,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who supervised the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, said in an interview. β€œAt the same time, I certainly understand people thinking that we should not send athletes either. We tried that back in the Jimmy Carter years; it didn't have much impact, except on the athletes.” But Biden is also facing criticism from a bipartisan group of lawmakers for not taking a tougher tack at a time when China is brutalizing its own people and threatening to expand its footprint. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., for example, said Biden should have pressed for the Winter Olympics to b . . . read the full article here.