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Human Rights

Beijing warns US will 'pay the price' for diplomatic boycott of Winter Olympics

China has accused the United States of violating the Olympic spirit.

CHINA HAS ACCUSED the United States of violating the Olympic spirit by announcing a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Games in February.

Beijing has threatened to retaliate to a US diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, saying the Games are not “a stage for political shows and political manipulation”.

“The US will pay the price for its wrongdoing,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a daily press briefing when asked about what specific countermeasures Beijing would impose, adding “stay tuned.” 

His comments came amid a barrage of Chinese criticism of the announcement by the Biden administration.

He vowed China would respond with “firm countermeasures” but gave no details.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters yesterday that the administration will fully support US athletes competing at the games but will not send US diplomats or officials to attend.

Psaki said the US has a “fundamental commitment to promoting human rights” and that the US “will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games”.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington tweeted that politicians calling for a boycott are “doing so for their own political interests and posturing”.

“In fact, no one would care about whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever on the #Beijing2022 to be successfully held,” the embassy said.

China’s mission to the United Nations called the boycott a “self-directed political farce”.

“The US just wants to politicise sports, create divisions and provoke confrontation,” it said.

It is not clear whether other countries will follow the US lead.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said today that Japan would make its own decision “from the perspective of national interests, taking into consideration the significance of the Olympic Games and the significance of Japan’s diplomacy. This is the basic attitude of our country.”

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said it remained unclear what the diplomatic boycott means and that a decision on officials attending would be made “at an appropriate time by comprehensively considering various circumstances”.

“In any case, Japan hopes that the Beijing Winter Games will be held as a celebration of peace in line with the principles of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Matsuno said.

The dispatching of high-level delegations to each Olympics has long been a tradition among the US and other leading nations.

Then-president George W Bush attended the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Summer Games.

First lady Jill Biden led the American contingent to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo this year and second gentleman Doug Emhoff led a delegation to the Paralympic Games.

With reporting by AFP

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