The International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday that it welcomed governments’ support of their national Olympic teams ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, despite some announcing a diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record.

The United States, Australia and Britain have said they will send no government officials to the Games in protest of China’s human rights “atrocities,” while other allies consider similar moves.

China said the United States would “pay a price” for its decision and warned of countermeasures in response, but gave no details.

“The IOC has always been concerned with the participation of the athletes in the Olympic Games,” IOC President Thomas Bach told a news conference. “We welcome the support for their Olympic teams all these governments have been emphasizing.

“This is giving the athletes certainty and this is what the IOC is about.”

The decision should not impact operations in Beijing, but it is a blow to the IOC and its prime product — the Olympics — less than two months before the opening ceremony, especially after the delayed Tokyo Summer Games were held in July without spectators due to COVID-19.

The diplomatic boycott, encouraged for months by members of the U.S. Congress and rights groups, comes despite efforts to stabilize ties between the the two nations, including a video meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping last month.

“We welcome that they (athletes) will be there, we welcome that they are supported by their national governments. The rest is politics,” Bach said.

“The presence of government officials is a purely political decision for each government.”

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