The Chinese government has responded to ongoing calls to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on human rights grounds.
Government spokesperson Guo Weimin responded to the threats on Tuesday, declaring calls for a boycott are “doomed to failure."
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Guo also denounced speculation that Beijing was seeking diplomatic gains by providing COVID-19 vaccines and other global assistance to help fight the pandemic, saying China was only seeking to meet its international obligations in providing a public service.
Guo is spokesperson for the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the official advisory body to China’s ceremonial parliament, the National People’s Congress.
Both bodies open their annual meetings this week amid tight security and social-distancing measures to guard against increasingly narrow odds of passing on the coronavirus.
Local transmission of COVID-19 has been practically wiped out in China, where the first cases were detected in the central city of Wuhan late in 2019.
Beijing is the only city in Olympics history to be given the right to host both the Summer and Winter Games, further burnishing the ruling Communist Party's credentials for driving economic growth and organisational expertise.
But a vocal core of international lawyers, politicians and activists have brought pressure on Olympic sponsors, sports federations, governments and athletes to shun what they are branding as the “Genocide Games” because of reported human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs, Tibetans and other minorities in China.
Those calls have largely been met with silence, although Canada’s House of Commons voted 266-0 in a non-binding referendum that China is committing genocide against more than one million Uyghurs and called for the IOC to move the Olympics from Beijing.
The Dutch parliament passed a similar motion, while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he believes genocide is being committed against the Uyghurs.
Guo said the drive against Beijing 2022 would amount to nothing.
“Some individual foreign politicians politicised sports with an attempt to disturb and sabotage the preparations and holding of the Beijing Winter Olympics and called for a boycott," Guo told reporters at a news conference.
“These acts are in violation of the Olympic spirit.
"We believe that the moves will not win support from the international community and are doomed to failure."
'Serious sanctions' for countries boycotting China
The ruling Communist Party has relentlessly cracked down on political opponents and perceived social threats since the 2008 Beijing Summer Games that were supposed to improve human rights in China.
Beijing won the 2022 Winter Olympics after several European bidders withdrew over costs and public opposition, leaving Almaty, Kazakhstan, as the only other bidder.
Last month the state-run tabloid Global Times said countries who boycott the 2022 Olympics can expect serious sanctions.
“IOC and athletes will both oppose it, and China will seriously sanction any country that follows such a call,” Hu Xijin tweeted.
An editorial published in the Global Times also described the boycott calls as a “hostage” situation.
“China is a sporting and economic power with growing political influence," the editorial read.
"If any country is encouraged by extremist forces to take concrete actions to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics, China will definitely retaliate fiercely.
“China certainly has the resources and means to do that.”
Boycotting 2022 Beijing Winter Games, an unpopular idea, won’t receive wide support. IOC and athletes will both oppose it, and China will seriously sanction any country that follows such a call. pic.twitter.com/3cOSb2wMdS
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) February 7, 2021
with Associated Press
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