The US has announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China – a move that has been heavily criticised by Beijing.
The White House said no official delegation would be sent to the Games because of concerns about China’s human rights record.
But it said US athletes could attend and would have the government’s full support.
China called Washington’s move a “self-directed political farce”.
“The US just wants to politicize sports, create divisions and provoke confrontation,” said a statement by the Spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the UN.
“The success of the Games does not rely on the attendance of a handful of countries’ government officials.”
Earlier, anticipating the announcement, Beijing said it would take “resolute countermeasures” against such a boycott.
White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, confirmed the boycott on Monday, saying that the administration would not contribute to the “fanfare” of the Olympics.
“US diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang,” she said. “We simply can’t do that.”
Ms Psaki added that the US government did not feel “it was the right step to penalise athletes who had been training for this moment”, but that not sending an official US delegation to the 2022 Games “could send a clear message”.
Following the US announcement, New Zealand said on Tuesday it too would not send a delegation. Other countries, including the UK and Australia, are said to be considering boycotts.
China’s Washington embassy also waded in on the announcement, calling the boycott a “grave distortion of the spirit of the Olympic Charter”.
Mr Liu added that no invitation had been extended to US politicians, “so this ‘diplomatic boycott simply comes out of nowhere”.
On Chinese social media platform Weibo, the search topic “US diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics” has been censored as of Tuesday morning.
Most of the comments below a post on the announcement by state media outlet Global Times were also deleted, leaving only eight out of close to 1,500 comments untouched.
“The Olympics are for athletes, what does it have to do with… politicians? Even if you boycott, the only people you’re hurting are your own countrymen (including athletes),” one such comment read.
High-level government representatives – from the US and other countries – are usually present at Olympic Games.