Washington announced its boycott earlier in the week, saying it was prompted

Washington announced its boycott earlier in the week, saying it was prompted by widespread rights abuses by Beijing (pictured, China’s President Xi Jinping) and what it sees as a ‘genocide’ against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang

China has warned the UK, US, Canada and Australia they will ‘pay the price’ for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Washington announced its boycott earlier in the week, saying it was prompted by widespread rights abuses by China and what it sees as a ‘genocide’ against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

The UK, Australia and Canada followed suit in a flurry of diplomatic bonhomie on Wednesday. The boycott stopped short of not sending athletes but nonetheless infuriated Beijing, which hinted at retaliation on Thursday.

‘The US, Australia, Britain and Canada’s use of the Olympic platform for political manipulation is unpopular and self-isolating, and they will inevitably pay the price for their wrongdoing,’ foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters.

The veiled threat came as France said it would not boycott the February Games because ‘sports is a world in itself, which must be protected from political interference.’

The Kremlin, however, criticised the US move, saying the 2022 games should be ‘free of politics’. Russian President Vladimir Putin has already accepted an invitation by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to attend.

Meanwhile International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that he was staying politically neutral on the matter, while insisting the important point was ‘the participation of the athletes in the Olympic Games’.

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SOURCE: Daily Msil, Lauren Lewis