Beijing, Dec 7 (EFE).- China said Tuesday that the United States “will pay a price” after Washington announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses in the country.
“The United States will pay a price for its wrongdoing,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, adding that Beijing had officially protested to Washington over the boycott.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced Monday that the US government would not send diplomatic or official representation to the games for “the genocide and crimes against humanity that persist in (China’s northwestern region of) Xinjiang, as well as other human rights abuses” in China.
China has repeatedly denied these abuses exist and said they are part of “a smear campaign.”
“The United States is trying to disrupt the Games based on its ideological bias, lies and hearsay. But the boycott will only make people around the world see its sinister intentions even more clearly, and further erode its credibility and morality,” Zhao said.
State newspaper Global Times said Tuesday through Twitter that China was “relieved” after the announcement of the boycott.
“The fewer US officials come, the less viruses they will bring,” it wrote.
The Winter Games will be held between Feb. 4 and Feb. 20 in the Chinese capital, which already hosted the summer games in 2008.
Washington hasn’t banned the participation of American athletes, stopping short of a complete boycott of the games, because it does not want to “penalize” athletes who have spent months or years training to prepare for the Olympics.
China said last week that it did not plan to invite US politicians to the event, although it said that the International Olympic Committee had the last word on the possibility.
Ned Price, State Department spokesman, said Monday that this boycott is not the only step his country has taken or will take in response to crimes against humanity that he said are being committed in China.
“When the United States speaks, when the United States takes action, the world listens,” said Price, who added that this type of boycott is a sovereign decision each country must make and that his government expects others to follow suit and make the same decision in the next few days.
New Zealand is the only other country to have joined the US initiative after it announced Tuesday it would not send diplomatic representatives to the Olympics. EFE