Sports | December 6, 2021 12:59 pm

China Threatens “Countermeasures” If US Proceeds With Diplomatic Boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

U.S. government officials wouldn't attend the Games, but American athletes would still compete in China

People walk past the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo at Shougang Park
People walk past the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo at Shougang Park.

As was previously rumored, the Biden administration is poised to announce a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics this week as a public protest against China’s human rights practices, CNN reports.

Should the administration follow through and not send a delegation of officials to China, American athletes would be allowed to participate in the Games.

Ahead of the expected announcement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing a boycott would be an “outright political provocation” and threatened that China would take “firm countermeasures” if the U.S. proceeds with its plan, according to The Associated Press.

“Without being invited, American politicians keep hyping the so-called diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympic, which is purely wishful thinking and grandstanding,” Zhao said. “If the U.S. side is bent on going its own way, China will take firm countermeasures.”

He added that those calling for a boycott are “grandstanding” and should cease and desist “so as not to affect the dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in important areas,” according to Reuters.

Australia has also raised the possibility of a diplomatic boycott, but that would not have nearly the impact of the U.S. — which sent first lady Jill Biden to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo just months ago — declining to dispatch an American contingent to Beijing.

The Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin on February 4.