China labels diplomatic boycotts 'farce'

China on Thursday criticized the decisions of certain countries to carry out a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

“Sports has nothing to do with politics,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Thursday, according to The Associated Press. “It is they who have written, directed and performed this farce.”

Thus far, the U.S., the United Kingdom and Canada have announced diplomatic boycotts of the games, meaning they will not have any officials in attendance, though athletes will still be permitted to compete. 

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In addition to the three countries, which are protesting human rights abuses in China, New Zealand said it would not be sending officials to the Olympics but cited pandemic restrictions in addition to voicing human rights concerns, the AP reported.

Wang said he was not concerned about the decisions sparking a chain reaction as "numerous heads of state, leaders of government and royal family members have registered to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, and we welcome them," according to the wire service. 

Wang added that it “doesn’t matter if their officials come or not, they will see the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics.”

China has said it would respond to the U.S. decision to boycott with “firm countermeasures” but it has not provided details on any specific plans, the AP added.

Earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it has "no ability to go into a country and tell them what to do."

“The IOC’s remit is to ensure that there is no human rights abuses in respect of the conduct of the games within the National Olympic Committee, or within the Olympic movement,” IOC Vice President John Coates said.