China urges U.S. companies to stand strong in their support of upcoming Beijing Games

With talks of potential diplomatic boycotts still in the air, China tells business executives any boycott of Games would be “unpopular”

Xie Feng, commissioner of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, holds a briefing on the proposed national security legislation in Hong Kong, China May 25, 2020. REUTERS/James Pomfret
Xie Feng, commissioner of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, holds a briefing on the proposed national security legislation in Hong Kong, China May 25, 2020. REUTERS/James Pomfret

With just over two months to go until the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, the threat of diplomatic boycotts from the United States and other countries still looms. U.S. President Joe Biden has said the United States is considering it, but gave no timetable for when or if it will happen.

This week China struck back by pressuring American companies to block out any boycott requests and support the Games.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Xie Feng told U.S. business executives during a video conference to “make a positive contribution” to the Games.

“Boycotting the Olympics for political reasons harms the interests of athletes, violates the shared ideals and aspirations of the international society, and is unpopular,” Xie said.

Students and professionals from Hong Kong protest in Taiwan on China?s national day, hoping to draw attention to topics like the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and calling for a boycott of the Winter Olympic Games to be held in Beijing next year in Taipei, Taiwan, October 1, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Students and professionals from Hong Kong protest in Taiwan on China?s national day, hoping to draw attention to topics like the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and calling for a boycott of the Winter Olympic Games to be held in Beijing next year in Taipei, Taiwan, October 1, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang

China is under close scrutiny for a number of reasons: the handling of tennis player Peng Shuai’s three week disappearance, military aggression towards Taiwan, a crackdown of civil liberties and human rights in Hong Kong and mass internment of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.

Xie told the American business executives they should not be concerned with such matters.

“Everyone must be clear that Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet are core interests that touch upon China’s sovereignty and secure development. China does not have any room to compromise.”

China is the world’s second largest economy and a key market for many global corporations. To date, no company in the U.S. has indicated they will pull their sponsorship of the Beijing Games.

On December 1 the Women’s Tennis Association said it is suspending all tournaments in China and Hong Kong over concerns of Peng’s safety. The Chinese Tennis Association expressed indignation at what it called a “unilateral action based on fictitious information.”

The association further said, “It not only hurt the relevant athlete herself, but will also severely harm the female tennis players’ fair opportunities to compete and will damage the entire sport of tennis.” The statement did not mention Peng by name.