China calls Olympic boycott of UK and Canada ‘farce’ – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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BEIJING (AP) – China on Thursday rejected the decision of Canada and the United Kingdom to join Washington’s diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as a “farce”.

China is also not worried that the absence of officials could trigger a chain reaction, and many heads of state, heads of government and members of royal families have registered to attend, the spokesperson said. Foreign Ministry Wang Wenbin at a daily briefing.

The three countries have said they will not send government dignitaries to the games, which will take place February 4-20, to protest human rights abuses in China, while New Zealand said having informed Beijing earlier that it would not send any officials due to travel restrictions in the event of a pandemic, but had also raised human rights concerns.

Under the diplomatic boycott, countries will still send their athletes to compete.

Wang said China has not issued invitations to the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom and that “it doesn’t matter whether their officials come or not, they will see the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics. “.

“Sport has nothing to do with politics,” Wang said. “They are the ones who wrote, directed and performed this farce.”

China is convinced that there will be no chain reaction and perceives overwhelming global support for the games, he said.

“So far, many heads of state, heads of government and members of the royal family have registered to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, and we welcome them,” Wang said. “China is committed to making a greater contribution to the international Olympic cause and will provide the world with a streamlined, secure and exciting Olympic Games.”

China has pledged to respond to the United States with “firm countermeasures” against the boycott, but has given no details on how it plans to retaliate.

Human rights groups have called for a total boycott of the Beijing Winter Games, citing human rights violations by China against its Uyghur minority in the northwestern Xinjiang region, which some have said. qualified as genocide. They also highlight Beijing’s suppression of democratic protests in Hong Kong and a radical crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous territory.

Canada’s move came as no surprise amid the sharp deterioration in bilateral ties since China arrested two Canadians in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies. and daughter of the founder of the company, in connection with an American extradition. request.

Canada and others condemned what they called the “hostage policy,” while China described the charges against Huawei and Meng as a politically motivated attempt to curb China’s economic and technological development. .

China, the United States and Canada completed what was essentially a high-stakes prisoner swap earlier this year, but the reputation of the Chinese government has been severely tarnished in Canada.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that he did not support a diplomatic boycott of the Games in China, but that he could reconsider his decision after talks with other European countries.

“We must not politicize” the Games by taking “small and token” measures, Macron said. He added that he would seek advice from other states in the European Union and the International Olympic Committee, then announce a joint decision “in the coming weeks.”

Along with the boycott controversy, the pandemic has dictated that promotional events for the games be relatively low-key, especially compared to the frenzied campaign launched ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

That year, China hosted a Global Torch Relay that sparked violent clashes along the route between opponents of the ruling Communists and party supporters. The relay was completely canceled this year.

At Beijing Post and Communications University, senior student Hu Xinran expressed a note of disappointment after standing in line for 40 minutes to have her photo taken with a somewhat diminished Olympic flame.

“When I heard that the flame was coming to our middle school, I expected it to be lit,” Hu said. “But today I only saw a small flame in a lantern. “

“I think the torch relay like the one in Beijing 2008 was much more interesting. In my opinion, it was more fun.

(Copyright (c) 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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