Wednesday, August 17

‘Farce’: China dismisses the diplomatic boycott of the United Kingdom and Canada of the Beijing Winter Games

China on Thursday dismissed the decision by Canada and the United Kingdom to join Washington’s diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as a “farce.”

China is also not concerned that the officials’ absence will set off a chain reaction, and numerous heads of state, government leaders and members of royal families have signed up to attend, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a daily briefing.

All three countries have said they will not send government dignitaries to the games, which will take place from February 4 to 20, to protest against human rights abuses in China, while New Zealand said it previously informed Beijing that it would not. would send no officials due to travel restrictions due to the pandemic, but had also raised its human rights concerns.

Under the diplomatic boycott, countries will continue to send their athletes to compete.

Wang said China had not extended invitations to the US, Canada or the UK and that “no matter whether their officials come or not, they will see the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics.”

“Sports have nothing to do with politics,” Wang said. “They are the ones who have written, directed and carried out this charade.”

China is confident that there will be no chain reaction and perceives overwhelming global support for the games, he said.

“As of now, numerous heads of state, government leaders and members of the royal family have registered to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, and we welcome them,” Wang said. “China is committed to doing so. greater contributions to the international Olympic cause and to deliver an optimized, safe and exciting Olympic Games to the world. “

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‘Firm countermeasures’

China has promised to respond to the United States with “strong countermeasures” on the boycott, but has not given details on how it plans to retaliate.

Human rights groups have called for a full boycott of the Beijing Winter Games, citing human rights abuses by China against its Uighur minority in the northwest Xinjiang region, which some have called genocide. They also point to Beijing’s crackdown on democratic protests in Hong Kong and a radical crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous territory.

Canada’s move came as a small surprise in the context of the sharp deterioration in bilateral relations since China arrested two Canadians in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies and daughter of the founder of the company, in extradition to the United States. application.

Canada and others condemned what they called “hostage policy,” while China described the charges against Huawei and Meng as a politically motivated attempt to slow down China’s economic and technological development.

China, the US and Canada completed what was essentially a high-risk prisoner swap earlier this year, but the reputation of the Chinese government has been seriously tarnished in Canada.

One global VIP who will attend the Winter Olympics is the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. The UN chief received an invitation from the International Olympic Committee to attend the Beijing Winter Games “and has accepted it,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday.

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron said he does not support a diplomatic boycott of the Games, but could reconsider it after talks with other European countries.

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“We must not politicize” the Games by taking “small and symbolic steps,” Macron said. He added that he will seek opinions from other states of the European Union and the IOC and then announce a common decision “in the coming weeks.”

Coupled with the boycott controversy, the pandemic has dictated that promotional events for the games be relatively low-key, particularly compared to the frenzied campaign launched before the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

That year, China organized a global torch relay that sparked violent clashes along the route between opponents of the ruling communists and party supporters. The relay has been completely canceled this year.

At Beijing University of Post and Communications, senior Hu Xinran expressed a note of disappointment after waiting in line for 40 minutes to have her photo taken with a somewhat diminished Olympic flame.

“When I heard the flame coming to our university, I expected it to be lit,” Hu said. “But today I only saw a small flame in a lantern.”

“I think the torch relay like that for Beijing 2008 was much more interesting. In my opinion, that was more fun. “

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