China has reacted angrily to the US diplomatic boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics, with many countries saying it would consider joining the protest over Beijing’s human rights record and New Zealand announcing it would not send representatives to the games.
Chinese officials have dismissed Washington’s boycott as a “political and political fraud” and have tried to discredit the decision by saying that US officials had not been invited to Beijing in the first place.
The White House confirmed on Monday that it would not send any delegates to the Winter Games and Paralympics in February, “in view of the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] killings and Xinjiang crimes and other human rights abuses”.
“Team USA athletes have full support,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. “We will be 100% behind them as we entertain them at home. We will not contribute to the popularity of the games. ”
On Tuesday, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson confirmed that the country would not send communications representatives at ministerial level. Robertson cited Covid-19 as the main reason “but we have repeatedly expressed to China our concerns about human rights issues,” he said.
The UK, Canada and Australia said they were considering their positions. Last week, Lithuania, facing trade and communications disputes from China over its growing relations with Taiwan, announced that its president or ministers would not attend the Games.
Chinese officials have responded to the American declaration of outrage and early deportation. Liu Xiaoming, China’s former ambassador to the UK, said the Olympics “is not a stage for political conspiracy and deception”.
“American politicians continue to say ‘strike officials’ without even being invited to the games. This ideological ideology and pure respect is intended to exploit politics, ”he said.
“It is a traumatic blow to the spirit of the Olympic Charter, a blatant political upheaval and contempt for 1.4 billion Chinese people. It will make the people of China and the world more aware of the hypocrisy and hypocrisy of American politicians who oppose China. ”
Liu’s tweets depict the language of a few other Chinese officials before and after the announcement.
The Chinese ambassador to Washington has dismissed the boycott as a “hypocritical act” and a “political fraud”.
Earlier on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused Washington of “fraudulently ‘striking officials’ without even being invited to the games”, and threatened unspecified “combat action” if the boycott was announced.
The US strike was backed by top lawmakers including Republican Mitt Romney and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Boycott calls have intensified in recent months, as dozens of world governments are considering how to respond to Beijing’s ongoing crackdown on ethnic minorities in China, its intervention in Hong Kong, and other human rights issues. Demands have also been raised in the case of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who went missing for almost three weeks after filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against a former Chinese prime minister. He was later shown to state media that he was in Beijing, but there are still widespread concerns about his well-being and level of freedom.
Rights groups have accepted the American declaration and are asking other governments to follow it.
Mark Clifford, president of the UK-based Freedom Committee in Hong Kong, said world leaders had been “shown the way” by the US.
“Work with the US and Lithuania and take action that is the only way to address the morale of the Beijing Winter Olympics officials in 2022 – or accept that you are condoning the horrific atrocities committed by their government in modern times,” he said.
The last time the US staged a boycott of the Olympics was the 1980 Moscow Games, along with 64 other countries and territories in response to a Soviet attack on Afghanistan last year.