China warns of 'robust' response if US boycotts Winter Olympics

China warns of 'robust' response if US boycotts Winter Olympics
© Getty Images

Chinese officials on Wednesday sharply condemned a potential U.S. boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing after U.S. officials denied that such a plan was being considered.

The Associated Press reported that Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that the U.S. should not politicize the Olympics and warned of a "robust Chinese response" should the U.S. go through with a boycott.

“The politicization of sports will damage the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the interests of athletes from all countries,” said Zhao. “The international community including the U.S. Olympic Committee will not accept it.”


His comments come a day after a senior State Department official rejected the idea that the Biden administration was discussing a joint international boycott of the games with leaders of allied nations, while stating that U.S. plans to attend the games had "not changed."

"We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners,” the official said in a statement to The Hill.

That clarification followed statements from State Department spokesman Ned Price, who appeared to indicate that the U.S. was interested in such discussions.

“Well, it is something that we certainly wish to discuss and that it is certainly something that we understand that a coordinated approach will be not only in our interests but also in the interests of our allies and partners. So this is one of the issues that is on the agenda both now and going forward, and when we have something to announce, we will be sure to do that,” Price said earlier Tuesday at a daily press briefing.

Washington and Beijing have been at odds for years over trade issues that the Trump administration sought to resolve by levying tariffs on billions of dollars of imports from China. The Biden administration has largely declined to reverse those tariffs and has also moved forward with sanctions against top Chinese officials over the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.