Pakistan Today (Lahore)

China says US will ‘pay the price’ for diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics


The United States will have to “pay a price” for its diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China said on Tuesday, just weeks after talks aimed at easing tense relations between the two sides.

The White House said on Monday US government officials would boycott the Winter Olympics because of what it claimed were China’s human rights “atrocities”, although US athletes were free to travel there to compete.

The US boycott, encouraged for months by some members of Congress and rights advocacy groups, comes despite an effort to stabilise ties, with a video meeting last month between US President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping.

China opposes the boycott and would take “resolute countermea­sures”, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular media briefing in Beijing, the host city of the 2008 Summer Olympics, on Tuesday. “The United States will pay a price for its mistaken acts,” he said, without giving details. “Let’s all wait and see.” The United States is set to host the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and is preparing a bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Asked if China would consider a diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games in the United States, Zhao said the US boycott had “damaged the foundation and atmosphere” of sports exchange and co-operation on the Games, which he likened to “lifting a stone to crush one’s own foot”.

He called on the United States to keep politics out of sports, saying the boycott went against Olympic principles. Chinese media and scholars criticised the US decision.

“It is foolish and silly of the United States to do this,” Wang Wen, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing, told Reuters, adding that other major powers could do the same to the United States in 2028.

“For the US politician­s, who had not been invited (to the Games) to say they are staging a diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics, that’s just ‘proffering unreciproc­ated love’,” state news agency Xinhua said in a commentary.

Many Chinese internet users reacted to news of the US boycott with expression­s of “good riddance”.

“Please don’t come, don’t bring the Covid virus variant here,” a user who calls herself “Thales Beauty” commented online. Biden’s administra­tion highlighte­d as the reason for its boycott what Washington calls genocide against minority Muslims in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. China denies all rights abuses.

OTHER COUNTRIES UNDECIDED: “US diplomatic or official representa­tion would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’S egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

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

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