China warns US will ‘pay the price’ for diplomatic boycott of Olympic Games – Community News
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China warns US will ‘pay the price’ for diplomatic boycott of Olympic Games

The US move — which prevented athletes from taking part — comes after Washington spent months debating what stance to take at the Games starting next February over what it has called China’s “genocide” of the Uyghur minority.

The move drew fierce opposition from Beijing, which threatened unspecified countermeasures and said the US would “pay the price for its misdeeds”.

“Stay tuned,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily news conference.

“The attempt by the US to meddle in the Beijing Winter Olympics out of ideological bias, based on lies and rumors, will only expose (its) sinister intentions,” Zhao said.

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

But Washington’s move has been widely welcomed by human rights groups and politicians in the US, where President Joe Biden is under pressure to speak out against Chinese human rights abuses.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the government will not send diplomatic or official representation to the Games given China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights violations”.

Sending official representation would indicate that the Games were “business as usual,” Psaki said. “And we just can’t.”

“Team USA athletes have our full support. We will stand behind them 100 percent as we encourage them from home,” she added.

The International Olympic Committee called it a “purely political decision for any government that fully respects the IOC in its political neutrality.”

The announcement “also makes it clear that the Olympics and the participation of the athletes are outside of politics and we welcome this,” said an IOC spokesperson.

Diplomatic pompous act

US-China relations hit rock bottom under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, amid a massive trade war and inflammatory debate over how the Covid-19 virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Biden has sought to re-establish ties with Beijing while focusing on strengthening traditional US alliances to counter China’s growing economic influence and military presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The boycott of the Olympics is part of a complex diplomatic balancing act.

The Biden administration has maintained trade tariffs on Trump-era China and continues to order naval patrols over sensitive international shipping routes that China is accused of trying to control.

However, while Biden also emphasizes the need for dialogue, critics on the right say he is being too soft.

This makes the approaching Olympics a political flashpoint.

Team USA members, their coaches, trainers and other personnel will continue to receive consular and diplomatic security assistance, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

‘Strong rebuke’

Campaigners say at least a million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim, minorities are detained in camps in Xinjiang, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilizing women and imposing forced labour.

Bob Menendez, chairman of the US Senate’s powerful foreign relations committee, welcomed the diplomatic boycott as “a forceful rebuke” of the “genocide in Xinjiang”.

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

Human Rights Watch called the Biden administration’s decision “crucial” but urged greater responsibility “for those responsible for these crimes and justice for the survivors”.

The Beijing Olympics was also overshadowed by allegations of sexual assault by former tennis star Peng Shuai against a retired top Communist Party politician.

The three-time Olympian was not heard from for nearly three weeks before resurfacing as her claims were quickly censored.

Just six months after the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Summer Games, the Winter Olympics will be held in a “closed loop” bubble from February 4 to 20 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

On the streets of Beijing, residents told AFP they did not agree with the American move.

“Sport is sport. How is it related to politics? In addition, should political norms be set by the US? Will the norm you say become the de facto norm?” said a 72-year-old retired teacher, who gave her last name Wang.

“To be fair, Chinese are relieved to hear the news because the fewer US officials come, the fewer viruses are brought in,” China’s state newspaper Global Times tweeted.

This story was published from a news agency feed with no text changes. Only the headline has been changed.

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