China is denouncing U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration’s decision to impose a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as a violation of the Olympic spirit.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters Tuesday in Beijing the U.S. would suffer a loss of “moral authority and credibility” from the boycott, and that it would have a negative impact on bilateral “dialogue and cooperation” in important areas. He also repeated a promise he made Monday that China would take “countermeasures” if Washington were to go through with the boycott.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that the administration “will not send any diplomatic or official representation” to the Winter Games because of China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.”
A diplomatic boycott means that no U.S. officials will attend any Beijing Olympics events, but Team USA athletes will still be allowed to participate.
“The athletes on Team USA have our full support,” Psaki said. "We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home.”
However, she said, “we will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games.”
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington tweeted Monday that politicians calling for a boycott are simply doing so “for their own political interests and posturing.”
The spokesman dismissed the politicians, saying “no one would care about whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever on the #Beijing2022 to be successful.”
U.S. President Joe Biden said last month he was considering a diplomatic boycott because of criticism of China’s human rights abuses, including the detention of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province and the crackdown on pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong.
The Beijing Winter Games will run from February 4 to 20.
The U.S. diplomatic boycott avoids a repeat of 1980, when then-President Jimmy Carter kept U.S. athletes from attending the Moscow Summer Games because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.