(TibetanReview.net, Dec07’21) – With a view to send a “clear message” that the human rights abuses in China mean there cannot be “business as usual,” the United States has decided Dec 6 not to send an official delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. And the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Dec 6 that it respected the US government’s announcement. However, China, while claiming it did not care, vowed to take countermeasures if the US insisted on going ahead with its “diplomatic boycott” of the global sporting event.
Refusing to “contribute to the fanfare of the games,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said, “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.”
US athletes will still be allowed to compete in the Olympics.
It appears that the US will move forward with the boycott without other allies, noted the nyitmes.com Dec 7. Several European nations have been pressured to take similar steps but have not made a decision on any potential boycott, the report added.
Reacting to the US decision, an IOC spokesperson has told the AFP Dec 7, “The presence of government officials and diplomats is a purely political decision for each government, which the IOC in its political neutrality fully respects.”
But earlier, reacting to the impending decision of the US President Joe Biden, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a daily press briefing Dec 6 that those calling for a boycott were “grandstanding” and should stop “so as not to affect the dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in important areas”, reported Reuters Dec 7.
China’s official Xinhua news agency Dec 6 also cited Zhao as saying at that news briefing that the American politicians’ constant hyping of “diplomatic boycott”, despite not being invited to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, violated the Olympic Charter, offended the Chinese people, and was pure political provocation.
Also responding to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s remarks that his country was considering the issue of “diplomatic boycott” of Beijing Winter Olympics, Zhao has said it was the athletes around the world who should be in the spotlight of the Beijing Winter Olympics, not politicians.
“No one cares whether they come or not, and it would not affect Beijing’s successful hosting of the Winter Olympics,” he added.
“If the US insists in willfully clinging to its course, China will take resolute countermeasures,” Reuters quoted him as saying.