'Do not politicise sports': China slams Japan's decision not to send govt officials to Beijing Olympics
In response to Japan's decision, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a regular news conference that China welcomed the Olympic officials and athletes from Japan
After Japan announced that it will not send government officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022, China's foreign ministry on Friday (December 24) has urged Japan not to "politicise sports".
The move is not described as a diplomatic boycott and the Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said that there were "no plans" for officials to attend the Games.
Winter Olympics 2022 will start from February 4 and it is important to note that the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada earlier announced diplomatic boycotts of the Games over reported human rights abuses by China, including against the Muslim Uyghur minority. Athletes from the mentioned countries will participate as mentioned.
China has repeatedly declined the allegations.
Matsuno said, "Japan believes it is important that common values shared by the international community such as freedom, human rights, and the rule of law are also respected in China."
"As Tokyo 2020 demonstrated to the world, the Olympics and the Paralympics are festivals of peace and sports that give courage to the world," he added.
Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto and Japanese Olympic Committee head Yasuhiro Yamashita will attend the event in the Chinese capital.
"Hashimoto will attend to express gratitude and respect to the athletes and others who supported the Tokyo Games," Matsuno said.
In response to Japan's decision, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a regular news conference that China welcomed the Olympic officials and athletes from Japan.
For the unversed, China did not send a government delegation to the Tokyo Summer Olympics this year, but only a sports delegation, led by the sports bureau chief.
Lijian said, "China welcomes the Japanese Olympic Committee, other relevant persons and Japanese athletes to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics."
"We have noted the relevant remarks from the Japanese government. We hope and urge the Japanese side to implement China and Japan's commitments to support each other's Olympic Games and not to politicise sports," he added.
"China is confident that it can work with all parties to realise a more united Olympic spirit and present a simple, safe and exciting Olympic Games to the world," he further said.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said this month he was staying politically neutral on the matter, insisting the important point was "the participation of the athletes".
(With inputs from agencies)