China warns U.S. against boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

Attendants at Winter Olympics test event
Attendants rehearse an awards ceremony Wednesday during a test event in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
(Andy Wong / Associated Press)

China warned the U.S. on Wednesday not to boycott next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing after the Biden administration said it was talking with allies about a joint approach to complaints of human rights abuses.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected accusations of abuses against ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region. He warned of an unspecified “robust Chinese response” to a potential Olympics boycott.

“The politicization of sports will damage the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the interests of athletes from all countries,” spokesman Zhao Lijian said. “The international community including the U.S. Olympic Committee will not accept it.”


Human rights groups are protesting China’s hosting of the Games, which are due to start in February 2022. They have urged a boycott or other measures to call attention to accusations of Chinese abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans and residents of Hong Kong.

The State Department suggested that an Olympic boycott was among the possibilities, but a senior administration official said later a boycott has not been discussed. The International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have said in the past that they oppose boycotts.

During the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the U.S. boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow in 1980. Four years later, the Soviet Union declined to send athletes to compete in the Summer Games in Los Angeles.