China has hit back at Canadian politicians calling for Beijing to be removed as hosts of next year’s Winter Olympics. The calls were dismissed as a “a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a malicious provocation against the 1.4 billion Chinese people” by a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Canada. I n Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said the “blatant politicisation of sport violates the spirit of the Olympic Movement and harms the interests of their athletes”. On Monday, the Canadian House of Commons passed a non-binding motion to declare that China is committing genocide against the Uygur Muslims in the far Western Xinjiang region. The motion passed by a vote of 266-0, though Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet chose to abstain. Further to declaring that “a genocide is currently being carried out by the People’s Republic of China against Uygurs and other Turkic Muslims” the motion called upon the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Games from Beijing. On Tuesday, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada released a statement saying the calls for the Canadian government to adopt the position were “a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a malicious provocation against the 1.4 billion Chinese people”. Everything you need to know about Beijing 2022 one year out “We strongly condemn the move,” it continued before claiming an increase of life expectancy and per capita GDP growth in Xinjiang. The embassy also took aim at Canadian politicians who had not travelled to China and criticised them for policitising the Winter Games. “They are hyping up the topic of the Beijing Winter Olympics based on political lies, and politicising sports, which completely runs counter to the Olympic Charter and jeopardises the Olympics and the interests of athletes around the world. How selfish and narrow-minded!” In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said: “Facts have proven that there has never been genocide in Xinjiang. This is a pure lie concocted by anti-China forces, a ridiculous farce to smear China. Some Canadian politicians’ blatant politicisation of sport violates the spirit of the Olympic Movement and harms the interests of their athletes.” Calls to move the Winter Games from Beijing have grown in recent months, as have discussions of boycotts. China will sanction countries that boycott Beijing 2022: Global Times editor US Representative John Katko called on US President Joe Biden to boycott the Games in a letter on Monday. “Recent actions taken by the Chinese Communist Party are antithetical to the values of both the United States and its allies around the world,” Katko wrote. “Participation in an Olympics held in a country that is a actively committing genocide not only undermines those shared values, but casts a shadow on the promise for all those who seek free and just societies.” Not everyone agrees that a boycott is the best solution. Athlete protest ban at odds with Olympic history “In no way are we, at the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee, trying to minimise what is happening in China. But a boycott is not the answer,” wrote Canadian Olympic Committee chairman David Shoemaker in The Globe & Mail this month. “Rather, we believe the interests of all Canadians, and the global community, are better advanced through competing and celebrating great Canadian performances and values on the Olympic and Paralympic stage.” On Monday, Olympic historian David Wallechinsky told Canadian television that neither a boycott nor relocation are likely. “First of all, I think it’s a non-starter for the simple reason that the International Olympic Committee and the various sponsors are committed to having these Olympics,” Wallechinsky told CTV’s Your Morning Monday show. Canada took part in a US-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics. China also boycotted those Games.