US again criticizes China for its human rights record

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The United States has again criticized the Chinese government over the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

It comes after a Uyghur athlete emerged as one of the last torchbearers at Friday’s opening ceremony.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “We cannot allow this to distract, exactly as you have said, from the human rights abuses, the genocide that we we are seeing in some parts of China. That is why we did not send a diplomatic delegation.

Cross-country skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang is from Altay in Xinjiang. She lit the Olympic cauldron alongside a male athlete from the majority Han group.

Several other countries have also failed to send any government officials to the Games in what they call a “diplomatic boycott”, citing allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity in the region.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson called the claims a “lie”. Zhao Lijian said, “Political hype as well as malicious defamation and slander related to the Winter Olympics will find no support and will not succeed.

The spokesperson added that having athletes from all ethnic groups in the delegation shows that China is a “big family boasting…unity”.

He also said that criticism of China would surely be condemned and opposed by the international community.

Meanwhile, the president of the Women’s Tennis Association says Chinese player Peng Shuai’s latest statements do not allay concerns about her safety.

In an interview with a French newspaper, Peng apparently backtracked on a social media post from last November, saying she had not been sexually assaulted by anyone.

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