China envoy urges Japan not to join diplomatic boycott of Olympics

Dec 17 , 2021. 14 hours ago – 20:06 By Maya Kaneko, KYODO NEWS

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou makes a speech at Kyodo News in Tokyo on Dec. 16, 2021. (Kyodo) 

TOKYO – Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou on Thursday urged Japan not to join U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights issues, likening it to a “political performance.”

“Unfortunately, some people in Japan have been attacking China’s political system based on their biased views and spreading rumors and lies about the human rights situations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong to call for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games,” the envoy said in a meeting held at Kyodo News.

Kong said he wants Japan to be “strongly cautious about and block such a dangerous” move so as not to damage bilateral diplomatic ties, which will mark next year the 50th anniversary of their normalization.

His remarks came as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said earlier in the day he has no plans to attend the Beijing Olympics to be held in February, while suggesting he is still considering various options over the diplomatic boycott of the games.

The United States announced last week it is not sending officials to the games amid intensifying criticism of China’s human rights record. Some other countries including Australia, Britain and Canada have followed suit, while Tokyo has yet to clarify its stance.

Japan, a close U.S. ally that relies heavily on China in economic terms, is considering not sending Cabinet ministers to the Beijing Olympics, according to government sources.