China sends warning to Olympic boycott nations: You will ‘pay the price’

China warned Western nations on Thursday they would “pay the price” for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Washington announced its boycott earlier in the week, saying it was prompted by widespread rights abuses by China and what it sees as a “genocide” against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang. Australia, Britain and Canada followed suit on Wednesday. The boycott stops short at barring athletes from attending.

“The US, Australia, Britain and Canada’s use of the Olympic platform for political manipulation is unpopular and self-isolating, and they will inevitably pay the price for their wrongdoing,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters.

Advocacy groups have backed the boycott, with Human Rights Watch’s China director Sophie Richardson calling it a “crucial step toward challenging the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities”.

Beijing has defended the camps as vocational training centers aimed at reducing the appeal of Islamic extremism. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Wednesday that he was staying politically neutral on the matter, while insisting the important point was “the participation of the athletes in the Olympic Games”.

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