Beijing slams US diplomatic boycott of Olympics


China warned on Tuesday the United States would “pay the price” for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights considerations.

The US move — which stopped wanting stopping athletes from attending — comes after Washington spent months wrangling over what place to tackle the Games starting in February subsequent yr over what it has termed China’s “genocide” of the Uyghur minority.

The move drew fiery opposition from Beijing, which threatened unspecified countermeasures, saying the US would “pay the price for its wrongdoing”.

“Stay tuned,” Chinese international ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian informed reporters at a day by day press briefing.

“The US attempt to interfere with the Beijing Winter Olympics out of ideological prejudice, based on lies and rumours, will only expose (its) sinister intentions,” Zhao mentioned.

“The Winter Olympics are not a stage for political shows and political manipulation,” he added, accusing the US of “actions that interfere in and undermine the Beijing Winter Olympics.”

But Washington’s move was broadly welcomed by rights teams and politicians within the US, the place President Joe Biden has been below strain to talk out in opposition to Chinese rights abuses.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki mentioned the administration would ship no diplomatic or official illustration to the Games given China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.”

Sending official illustration would sign that the Games had been “business as usual,” Psaki mentioned. “And we simply can’t do that.”

“The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home,” she added.

The International Olympic Committee known as it a “purely political decision for each government, which the IOC in its political neutrality fully respects.”

The announcement “also makes it clear that the Olympic Games and the participation of the athletes are beyond politics and we welcome this,” an IOC spokesperson mentioned.

US-China relations hit a low level below Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, with an enormous commerce conflict and incendiary debate over how the Covid-19 virus emerged within the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan.

Biden has sought to re-engage with Beijing whereas on the identical time specializing in strengthening conventional US alliances to counter China’s rising financial clout and navy presence throughout the Indo-Pacific area.

The Olympics boycott is a part of a fancy diplomatic balancing act.

Biden’s administration has left Trump-era commerce tariffs on China in place and continues to order naval patrols via delicate worldwide sea lanes that China is accused of making an attempt to deliver below its management.

However, with Biden additionally emphasising the necessity for dialogue, critics on the precise say he’s being too smooth.

This makes the looming Olympic Games a political flashpoint.

Members of Team USA, their coaches, trainers and different workers will nonetheless obtain consular and diplomatic safety help, State Department spokesman Ned Price mentioned.

Campaigners say that a minimum of a million Uyghurs and different Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in camps in Xinjiang, the place China can also be accused of forcibly sterilising girls and imposing pressured labour.

Bob Menendez, chair of the highly effective US Senate international relations committee, welcomed the diplomatic boycott as “a powerful rebuke” of the “genocide in Xinjiang”.

The final full boycott of the Olympics by the US was in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter withdrew in protest in opposition to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Human Rights Watch known as the Biden administration’s choice “crucial” however urged extra accountability “for these liable for these crimes and justice for the survivors”.

The Beijing Olympics have additionally been overshadowed by sexual assault accusations made by former tennis star Peng Shuai in opposition to a retired high Communist Party politician.

The three-time Olympian was not heard from for nearly three weeks earlier than re-emerging, as her claims had been quickly censored.

Coming simply six months after the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Summer Games, the Winter Olympics shall be held from February four to 20 in a “closed loop” bubble due to Covid-19 restrictions.

On the streets of Beijing, residents informed AFP that they did not agree with the US move.

“Sports is sports. How is it connected to politics? Besides, should political standards be set by the US? Does whatever standard you say become the de facto standard?” mentioned a 72-year-old retired trainer, who gave her surname as Wang.

“To be honest, Chinese are relieved to hear the news because the fewer US officials come, the fewer viruses will be brought in,” tweeted the Chinese state-owned tabloid newspaper, Global Times.

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