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China vows 'countermeasures' over U.S. boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

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China vows 'countermeasures' over U.S. boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics
Pedestrians walk near the National Stadium in Beijing, China, on August 7. The venue will be used for the closing ceremony at the 2022 Winter Olympics in February. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The Chinese government, as promised, reacted sternly on Tuesday to U.S. President Joe Biden ordering a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, meaning no American officials or dignitaries will attend the quadrennial Games.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian vowed that Beijing will take "countermeasures" against the United States for the diplomatic blackout.

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Biden announced the boycott on Monday and other Western countries are considering a similar move, mainly due to China's controversial track record on human rights.

China had indicated previously that it would respond in some way if the United States went through with a boycott.

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"China deplores and firmly opposes to the remarks of the U.S. side," Zhao said, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. "China has lodged stern representations with the United States, and will respond with firm countermeasures."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Tuesday that the U.S. decision to diplomatically boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing "wins no supports and is doomed to fail." File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

Zhao said Biden's action violates the Olympic Charter of political neutrality, and added that the United States is "going down the wrong path" by basing the boycott on "distorted facts" about China's human rights record.

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"The U.S. political agenda wins no supports and is doomed to fail," Zhao said.

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that U.S. athletes will "have our full support" at the Beijing Games.

Biden's is the first boycott of any kind for the Olympic Games since President Jimmy Carter ordered a total U.S. blackout of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow over Russia's invasion of Afghanistan. Russia responded in kind and boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled to run from Feb. 4-20. No foreign spectators will be allowed to attend due to COVID-19.

The Olympics in February will be the first in history to occur so soon after the Summer Games, a span of just six months because the Tokyo Olympics were delayed by a year due to the pandemic.

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