Chinese official remarks on Taiwan and Xinjiang at the Games, declaring “One China”

By Carlos Grohman

BEIJING (Reuters) – Olympics politics came into focus on Thursday when a Beijing Winter Games official spoke about Taiwan and Xinjiang, saying there was “one China”, the country’s first such comment host since the start of the competition.

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams was asked at the daily press conference about Taiwan’s presence at the closing ceremony on Sunday. After his remarks, Beijing Games spokesman Yan Jiarong said, “There is only one China.”

His statement reiterates China’s position on democratically governed Taiwan, which it claims is its “holy” land.

Later, Yan again insisted on making a statement about Xinjiang when a reporter asked the IOC about materials from China’s Xinjiang region used for clothing.

“The so-called forced labor in Xinjiang is a lie invented by some groups,” Yan said.

Human rights groups accuse some textile companies that use Xinjiang materials of ignoring abuses suffered by the region’s Uyghur population. China denies all allegations of abuse and has repeatedly dismissed allegations that it operates a network of forced labor camps in Xinjiang.

Amid a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics by the US, UK and other Western countries over China’s human rights record, the International Olympic Committee has sought to keep politics out of the Beijing Games.

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