The United States will diplomatically boycott the Winter Olympics in February in the Chinese capital, Beijing. This was officially confirmed by the White House on Monday.
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Diplomatic boycott means Washington will not send government representatives to the Chinese capital. Leading American athletes can still compete.
The White House said the move was prompted by “genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang”. The United States wants to send a clear message that this cannot be tolerated. Washington accuses China of genocide against Uyghurs in the region, but Beijing denies it.
Governments usually send a large delegation of high-ranking ambassadors to the opening ceremony of the Olympics. But, due to the corona, the upcoming winter games will be much less.
The United States alone cannot ignore this event, as Australia and the United Kingdom are considering doing so, following the deterioration of diplomatic relations with China.
China threatened “counter-measures” against the US diplomatic boycott on Monday, even before it was officially confirmed by Washington.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called the US boycott “pretentious”. “If the US wants to do business its way at any cost, China will take counter-measures,” the spokesman warned. “The Winter Olympics are not an opportunity to take and manipulate a political position.”