Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, China Not Worried About Domino Effect Boycott

Image Credit: Ng Han Guan/The Associated Press

The Chinese government is not worried about the domino effect of a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, it said on Thursday after Australia, Britain, and Canada joined the United States with regards to not sending their officials to the Games.

The United States became the first country to announce its opposition towards the event, in a statement on Monday, saying its government officials would not be attending the February 4-20 Olympics due to China’s “cruelty” to human rights in Xinjiang’s western region.

“I don’t see any need to worry about any domino effect,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily press conference when asked about the possibility of more boycotts.

The Joe Biden administration has maintained pressure on China over a range of issues including human rights and China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.

Wang Wenbin pointed out that the United Nations on December 2 adopted a resolution, co-sponsored by more than 170 of the 193 member states, for an “Olympic Truce”, calling for countries to rise above politics and unite in sports during the Beijing Olympics.

“Quite a number of foreign leaders and members of the royal family have signed up to attend,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is the only leader of a major country to openly accept the invitation.

Wang Wenbin said China had no plans to invite officials from Britain and Canada to the Beijing Olympics, and their absence would have no impact on the Olympics’ success.

Wang also said the United States and its allies would pay the price for their wrong actions and said they had used the Olympics for political manipulation.

China said on Tuesday it would resolutely take countermeasures against the United States for its boycott, but has not specified what it will do.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison previously stated that he made his decision regarding not sending officials was made due to his struggle to reinitiate diplomacy with China to discuss human rights in Xinjiang and China’s move to block imports from Australia.

China has denied wrongdoing in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uyghur minority, and says the allegations of human rights abuses are fabricated.

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a law to halt the allowing of imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns, one of three measures strongly supported as Washington rejects Beijing’s treatment of the Uighur community.

“China is firmly against this,” said Gao Feng, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, referring to US pressure.

“The United States must stop its wrongdoing immediately. We will take the necessary steps to firmly protect China’s legitimate rights and interests,” Gao told a regular news conference.

Gao also mentioned that the United States practices unilateralism, protectionism and oppresses China in the name of human rights.

He also warned that the stance taken by the US would definitely harm both companies’ and consumers’ interests, exacerbate the global chain of supply tensions, and weigh on the global economic recovery.

The House of Representatives endorsed the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act by 428 to 1. To become law, the bill must also pass through the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden.

New Zealand has not said it is diplomatically boycotting the Olympics but when asked if he would support a boycott, Commerce Minister Damien O’Connor said it was something a human rights nation should do.

Responding to O’Connor’s remarks, Wang said he hoped all countries could be more united in the Olympic spirit and keep politics away from sports.

France will not follow in the footsteps of other Western governments to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, but any human rights abuses in China must be condemned, its education minister said on Tuesday

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