Former Chinese ambassador to the United
Kingdom Liu Xiaoming said the US boycotted the upcoming Winter Olympics in
China without even being invited to the Games, reported The Guardian. Liu’s
comment came after the White House announced on Monday that the US will be
boycotting the Winter Olympics scheduled in February.

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Liu Xiaoming, who was the top Chinese envoy
in London for a decade until January this year, said Beijing 2022 “is not
a stage for political posturing and manipulation.”

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But, Liu’s claim that the US wasn’t invited
by Beijing appeared to contradict an official government line he had shared a
few hours earlier. The decision to invite foreign dignitaries, Liu said, is at
the discretion of each participating country’s National Olympic Committee—in
this case, Team USA.

The Winter Olympics begin in 59 days on
February 4, 2022.

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While boycotting the Winter Olympics, the
Joe Biden administration cited widespread reports of human rights abuses
against Uyghurs and other minority ethnic groups in northwestern China.
American athletes, meanwhile, have expressed a desire to compete at the highest
level on the Olympic stage.

Announcing the decision for the first time
on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there would be no official
U.S. representation at Beijing 2022 “given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and
crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.”

“U.S. diplomatic or official
representation would treat these Games as business as usual in the face of the
PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang. And we simply
can’t do that,” Psaki added, using the country’s official title, the
People’s Republic of China.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao
Lijian said on Tuesday that Beijing had lodged formal diplomatic protests with
Washington over its decision. He also warned that China would take
“resolute countermeasures,” without elaborating.

Responding to the White House position,
China’s Mission to the United Nations called the boycott “a self-directed
political farce.”

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“The success of the Games does not
rely on the attendance of a handful of countries’ government officials,”
it said in a statement on its website. “As for those who say they don’t
want to come, the answer is that whether you come or not, the Beijing Winter
Olympic and Paralympic Games are there, and will be a success.”