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April 8, 2021

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China says Games boycott against athletes’ interest

ATTEMPTS to politicize sporting events are against the spirit of the Olympic Charter, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated yesterday, adding that it also undermines the interests of athletes of all countries, as well as the international Olympic cause.

Zhao’s remarks came after the US State Department denied on Tuesday that it was considering a joint boycott along with allies of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price was asked if the United States would consider a joint boycott with allies and said it was “something that we certainly wish to discuss.”

Price later clarified in an email that he was referring to the United States having a coordinated approach rather than specifically discussing a joint boycott. He subsequently wrote in a tweet that there was nothing new to announce.

“Our position on the 2022 Olympics has not changed. We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners,” read a statement sent by the department to the press.

“We regularly discuss common concerns vis-a-vis the PRC with our allies and partners. We will continue to do so, cognizant that a shared approach will always be in our interest,” said the department.

Some politicians in the US have led calls for a boycott of the Olympics, in part over allegations of “human rights abuse” in northwestern Xinjiang. China has rejected the claims and said yesterday that allegations of genocide are “the lie of the century from top to bottom.”

The International Olympic Committee and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee have said in the past they oppose boycotts. In March, IOC President Thomas Bach said history shows that boycotts never achieve anything.

The USOPC reiterated its opposition to a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics yesterday, saying athletes should not be used as “political pawns.”

Zhao warned of robust Chinese response to a potential Olympics boycott. He said China has the confidence to work with all parties to make the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games a remarkable and grand event.

The Beijing Winter Olympics open on February 4, 2022.


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