China warned Sunday any country that boycotts the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics can expect “serious sanctions” as the Chinese Communist Party continues to reject allegations of “genocide” against Uyghur Muslim minorities.
British and U.S. lawmakers have together called for a boycott over Beijing’s ethnic cleansing against Uyghurs who have been imprisoned and subjected to political “re-education” and mass surveillance in Xinjiang, as Breitbart News has reported.
The lawmakers joined a coalition of 180 rights advocacy groups and politicians have made demands for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take the event out of China, casting a pall on Beijing’s efforts to highlight the Games.
But Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-controlled Global Times, warned Sunday “China will seriously sanction any country that follows such a call” and called China’s critics “just a band of disordered people.”
First he took to social media to issue his threat:
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
He later warmed to his theme of punishing any country that dared to oppose China by warning in an editorial:
China is a sporting and economic power with growing political influence. 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.
A boycott by the U.S. and the UK would be seen as a farce even in their own countries, with huge resistance and associated uncertainty.
Several U.S. Republican senators led a resolution to move the Beijing Winter Games last week, following the United States’ designation that China’s actions in the region was “genocide” in the last days of the Donald Trump presidency.
The U.S. government has so far said it had no intention of telling its athletes not to go.
There has been speculation the Biden administration could push it to seek allied backing for a boycott in 2022, something a U.S. president has not done since Jimmy Carter blocked American athletes from attending the 1980 Summer Games in the former Soviet Union.
Beijing 2022, which will be the largest Winter Games yet with 109 medals on offer, is set to begin on February 4 next year.
This will be China’s first time hosting the Winter Olympics, after holding the Summer Games in Beijing in 2008. The city will be the first to host both Summer and Winter Games.