Responding to the White House announcement, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it had launched “solemn representation” with the US and vowed to take “resolute countermeasures.”
The Biden administration on Monday said that it would not send an official United States delegation to the Beijing Winter Games over concerns about China’s human rights record.
China has come under fire for cracking down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, for its policies toward Tibet and Taiwan and for detaining and abusing Muslim Uyghurs in the country’s Xinjiang province.
Reacting to the move, Mr Zhao accused the US of violating “political neutrality in sport” and said the proposed boycott was “based on lies and rumours”.
“The Winter Olympics is not a stage for political show and political manipulation,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry. A boycott would be “a naked political provocation, and a serious offense to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.”
In an opinion piece in March, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said prohibiting U.S. athletes from competing would be “unfair” and “counterproductive.”
“The right answer is an economic and diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics,” he said.
Romney applauded the White House’s decision following Psaki’s announcement, saying in a tweet, “America will not turn a blind eye to China’s predation, persecution, and genocide.”
Some US politicians, however, said the diplomatic boycott was not enough, with Republican Senator Tom Cotton calling it a “half measure” and arguing that the administration should have opted to “fully boycott” the games.
“The Olympics are for athletes, what does it have to do with… politicians? Even if you boycott, the only people you’re hurting are your own countrymen (including athletes),” one of the social media comments read.