China has followed Monday's White House confirmation that US government officials will boycott the 2022 Winter Olympic games with a vow to retaliate with "resolute countermeasures".
Describing that it's lodged a formal diplomatic protest, China's Foreign Ministry said at a Tuesday press conference that the United States is seeking to "disrupt" Beijing's hosting of the games. "Out of ideological bias and based on lies and rumors, the US is trying to disrupt the Beijing Winter Olympics. This will only expose its sinister intention and further erode its moral authority and credibility," ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.
"The wrong move of the US has undermined the foundation and atmosphere for China-US sports exchanges and Olympic cooperation. It has shot itself in the foot. The US should understand the grave consequences of its move," Zhao added.
While US athletes will be allowed to compete in the games, the Biden administration's largely symbolic slap in the face is geared toward sending a strong message against China's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang," according to a Monday statement.
Beijing officials have meanwhile suggested that the US government boycott is likely to negatively impact bilateral dialogue and cooperation in key areas.
It's as yet unclear whether other Western-allied governments of the US will follow suit, but it was separately reported early this week that New Zealand officials will also not attend the Beijing games. However, in this case New Zealand Deputy PM Robertson cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason, and confirmed his country's diplomats would not attend.
Politicians calling for boycott #2022BeijingOlympics are doing so for their own political interests and posturing. In fact, no one would care about whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever on the #Beijing2022 to be successfully held.— Liu Pengyu 刘鹏宇 (@SpoxCHNinUS) December 6, 2021
Interestingly, some notable Chinese officials and pundits expressed that if US officials don't come, nobody in China actually cares. For example, Liu Pengyu, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the US, had this to say on Twitter:
"Politicians calling for boycott #2022BeijingOlympics are doing so for their own political interests and posturing. In fact, no one would care about whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever on the #Beijing2022 to be successfully held."
And Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of state-run English language Global Times, questioned: "Why the fuss?" He answered, "If US officials don't come, let it be. China didn't invite them anyway."
With the premise that Washington was not invited to the Winter Olympics, it has made a big deal announcing it will not send a government delegation to the Games. They are so arrogant that one day they could ask for an appearance fee to go to public restrooms in foreign cities. pic.twitter.com/vAKn5jJrMe— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) December 7, 2021
"Only super narcissistic people will regard their absence as a powerful boycott. Most of those US govt officials are close contacts of the Covid-19 patients according to China's standard, moreover picky and pretentious. You are the people that Beijing residents least want to see," the GT editor quipped sarcastically.