Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian vowed that Beijing will take “countermeasures” against the United States for the diplomatic blackout.
China had indicated previously that it would respond in some way if the United States went through with a boycott.
“China deplores and firmly opposes to the remarks of the U.S. side,” Zhao said, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. “China has lodged stern representations with the United States, and will respond with firm countermeasures.”
Zhao said Biden’s action violates the Olympic Charter of political neutrality, and added that the United States is “going down the wrong path” by basing the boycott on “distorted facts” about China’s human rights record.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that U.S. athletes will “have our full support” at the Beijing Games.
Biden’s is the first boycott of any kind for the Olympic Games since President Jimmy Carter ordered a total U.S. blackout of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow over Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan. Russia responded in kind and boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
The Olympics in February will be the first in history to occur so soon after the Summer Games, a span of just six months because the Tokyo Olympics were delayed by a year due to the pandemic.