China lambasted on Monday any attempt to politicize the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, saying that successful Games are not dependent on the attendance of a handful of government officials.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made the remarks after media reports said the administration of United States President Joe Biden is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Games in February. The U.S. may not send a delegation of government officials to the Games in response to China's "human rights violations", but U.S. athletes will still participate in the event, the reports said.
A handful of Western countries have said they are considering whether to follow the U.S. steps.
"The Beijing Winter Olympics are a gathering of winter sports lovers and athletes across the world, not a stage for political posturing and manipulation," Wang said at a news conference.
Successful Games require the concerted efforts of the big Winter Olympic family, he said, urging certain countries to avoid overplaying their hands.
According to Olympic protocols, foreign dignitaries can attend the Games at the invitation of their respective national Olympic committees.
China had no plan to invite U.S. and Western politicians who hyped the "boycott" to attend the Games, and their so-called "boycott" is nothing but self-deception, the Global Times said, citing sources involved in preparation for the Games.
Given the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also inappropriate to invite foreign guests on a large scale, which is a position that can be easily understood by people with common sense, it said.
The U.S. and a handful of countries are making a political issue out of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and linking the attendance of their officials with so-called human rights issues, which is a smear tactic done in the name of defending human rights, Wang said.
"Such acts of politicizing sports obviously violate the Olympic Charter, especially the principle of the political neutrality of sports," he said, adding that it also runs counter to the new Olympic motto of "Together" and is bound to be met with opposition from the international community.
Preparation for the Winter Olympics has entered the home stretch and foreign athletes, including those from the U.S., are looking forward to coming to China, Wang said.
Meanwhile, the U.S.' so-called Summit for Democracy scheduled for December has been criticized by Hungary, which was not invited to the event. "We need nobody to judge the state of Hungarian democracy as if in a school exam," Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said recently.
On Friday, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov jointly published an opinion piece that said the summit will "stoke ideological confrontation" and create "dividing lines" at a time when the world urgently needs to ramp up cooperation to address global challenges.
The ambassadors said that democracy is a universal right of all peoples, "not a prerogative of a certain country or a group of countries", and can be realized in multiple ways.
The U.S. hosting of the summit is a dangerous move to rekindle its Cold War mentality and the international community should be on high alert, Wang said.