China demands US halt Olympics ‘interference’

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China is demanding the United States end “interference” in the Beijing Winter Olympics, which begin next month, in an apparent reference to a diplomatic boycott imposed by Washington and its allies.

The Foreign Ministry said Minister Wang Yi made the demand in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday Beijing time.

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The US has said it will not send dignitaries to the Games, which begin on February 4, in a protest over China’s detention of more than one million Uyghur Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, along with crackdowns on human rights elsewhere in the country.

The boycott does not prevent US athletes from taking part in the Games, which are being held under strict anti-pandemic restrictions.

China has also protested what it says are calls within the State Department to withdraw staff and their dependents from the embassy and consulates around China over the tightening rules.

According to a news release posted on the ministry’s website Thursday, Wang also called for an end to US support for self-governing Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.

Wang also complained that the US hasn’t altered tough political and economic policies toward China under the administration of President Joe Biden, despite its expressed wishes for a less confrontational relationship.

The phone call follows the appointment of veteran diplomat Nicholas Burns as the new US ambassador to China, a position that had remained empty for a year.

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