China says US plans to pay athletes to 'sabotage' Beijing Winter Olympics: Report
Beijing/IBNS: Just a week before the Beijing winter Olympics, the Chinese foreign ministry and an official newspaper have alleged that the US is paying money to the athletes of certain countries for making half-hearted participation and criticising China in order to interfere and "sabotage" the Games.
In December, the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the event over allegations of China's human rights "atrocities", and allies Australia, Britain and Canada joined the boycott. However, this does not prevent US athletes from travelling to Beijing to take compete in the Games.
China refutes the accusations and has repeatedly slammed the politicization of the Games.
China Daily, an English-language newspaper run by the ruling Chinese Communist Party's Publicity Department, on Friday in a report citing unnamed sources said the United States has a plan to "incite athletes from various countries to express their discontent toward China, play passively in competition and even refuse to take part".
To pay them back, the United States will "mobilise global resources" to help protect the reputation of athletes who choose to compete passively.
A ministry spokesperson told news agency Reuters on Saturday that the report has "exposed the real intention of some Americans to politicise sports and to sabotage and interfere with the Beijing Winter Olympics."
A US Embassy spokesman told Reuters by email on Saturday, "We were not and are not coordinating a global campaign regarding participation at the Olympics."
"US athletes are entitled to express themselves freely in line with the spirit and charter of the Olympics, which includes advancing human rights," the spokesman said.