China Says US Diplomatic Boycott of Winter Olympics Threatens Ties

China reacted angrily to the U.S. diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, saying the move was highly politicized and could harm dialogues between the two countries.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian dismissed Washington’s move as “political manipulation” and insisted that U.S. diplomats were not invited to the Games in the first place.

“It is a grave travesty of the spirit of the Olympic Charter, a blatant political provocation and a serious affront to the 1.4 billion Chinese people,” Zhao said in a regular briefing. “It will only make the Chinese people and the world see clearly US politicians’ anti-China nature and hypocrisy.”

The White House confirmed on Monday that it would not send any diplomatic officials to the Winter Games and Paralympics in February 2022 “given the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China’s] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,” although U.S. athletes are free to compete.

New Zealand had also announced on Tuesday that it will not send ministerial representatives to the Games primarily because of COVID-19, but Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said that the country has “made clear to China on numerous occasions our concerns about human rights issues.”

Zhao urged the U.S. to “adopt a right attitude” and “avoid politicizing sports”, adding that “if the U.S. is bent on going down this path, China will take resolute countermeasures.”

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