China warns US will ‘pay’ for Olympics diplomatic boycott – Community News
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China warns US will ‘pay’ for Olympics diplomatic boycott

China has informed the United States that it will “pay” for its diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics on human rights grounds.

The White House announced Monday that it would not send government officials to the February 2022 Games due to “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights violations.”

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This prompted a stern response from China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who told a news conference on Tuesday: “The US will pay for its misdeeds. You can wait and see.”

Zhao accused the US of hypocrisy and called Western allegations of cultural genocide against Uyghur Muslims a “fabricated” lie.

“The US is trying to disrupt the Beijing Winter Olympics,” he said.

A facility believed to be a re-education camp holding mostly Uyghur minorities north of Akto in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, in June 2019.Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

According to human rights groups and first-hand reports, China has held 1 million Uyghurs and other minorities in internment camps, where some are subjected to forced labour, sterilization and torture. China denies this, saying the “re-education camps” are needed to fight terrorism.

China is also accused by the US and other Western powers of stripping Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms and faces questions about tennis player Peng Shuai, who has not been seen in public for weeks after he made allegations of sexual assault against a former senior official of the Chinese Communist Party.

Zhao added that the US move to politicize the event “was contrary to the Olympic Charter principle that sport must maintain political neutrality”.

He also warned the US that their position “could harm dialogue and cooperation in a number of key areas and our international regional issues”.

American athletes will still compete in the Games. President Joe Biden has faced bipartisan pressure from lawmakers to take a stronger stance on China, including calls for the US to call for the Games to be moved.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-affiliated Global Times newspaper, said it was “super narcissistic” to believe the boycott was a forceful move, adding that many US officials would not be admitted due to Covid-19 protocols.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has previously said allies were being consulted on a “shared approach” to a boycott, but other countries have shown more caution in mixing politics and sport.

The office of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told NBC News that Italy would not boycott the Games.

Canada’s Foreign Ministry said Monday it remains “deeply concerned by the disturbing reports of human rights violations in China” and continues to discuss the issue with partners and allies.

New Zealand will not send ministers to the Games, although the decision was made in October.

A ski venue at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, China, in November.Thomas Peter / Reuters

“We have already decided that we will not attend and we will continue to raise human rights issues, which I notice the US is raising,” New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said at a meeting on Tuesday. Press conference.

John Hoberman, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who has been researching the ethics of the Olympics since his book “The Olympic Crisis: Sport, Politics, and the Moral Order” in 1986, was critical of the U.S. boycott because it didn’t go far enough.

“I think this is less than a half measure because people don’t tune in to the Olympics to watch diplomats,” he said on the phone. “If you keep your diplomats out, you’re giving the Chinese regime a soft blow.”

Katrina Lau, Reuters and Alexander Smith contributed.

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