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China criticises US diplomatic boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

China has condemned a US diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which are set to be held in Beijing, and threatened to retaliate. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated that China was prepared to take resolute counter-measures, however, no details on what these measures would look like were offered. The US announced the boycott on Monday, stating that it would not send its diplomats to Beijing due to the country’s human rights record and treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population in the country. However, the country stated that US athletes could go and would have full government support dispute the boycott.

On Tuesday, Mr. Zhao accused the US of violating political neutrality in sport, stated that the boycott was based on lies and rumors. Tensions remain high between Beijing and Washington, with the latter accusing the former of genocide in its oppression of the Uyghur population in western Xinjiang. China has strongly denied any allegations of mistreatment against the population. Relations were strained yet again due to China’s impression of political freedoms in Hong Kong and due to concerns for the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. After accusing a Chinese official of sexual assault, Shuai has not been seen for weeks.

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