China vows ‘countermeasures’ to US Olympic boycott
Beijing has warned Washington against affecting cooperation in “important areas” by calling for a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in China and brushing off the US behavior as “grandstanding.”
Calls for a boycott should stop, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, told a news conference on Monday, adding that a failure to do so on the part of US politicians might “affect the dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in important areas.”
If Washington “insists in willfully clinging to its course,” Beijing would “take resolute countermeasures,” Lijian added, while describing the calls for a boycott as nothing but “grandstanding.” US President Joe Biden’s administration has not yet officially announced any moves. It is expected to do so this week, though, according to a CNN report on Sunday.
Last month, Biden said he was considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games to protest China’s human rights record, including what Washington describes as a “genocide” of Uyghurs – a Muslim minority living in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region.
Western nations, including the US and the UK, have accused China of establishing camps in Xinjiang that reportedly enforce sterilization and slave labor. Beijing has repeatedly denied these accusations, calling the sites vocational education and training centers.
The White House did not comment on the CNN report. The potential boycott would prevent the US officials from attending the Olympics but would not stop American athletes from competing there. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly considering a similar boycott as well.