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The Impact Of A Potential China Olympic Games Boycott On LA’s Economy

Trucks stand prepared to haul shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles on Sept. 18, 2018. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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China's government warned Washington on Wednesday not to boycott next year's Winter Olympics in Beijing. This comes after the Biden administration said it was talking with allies about a joint approach to complaints of human rights abuses.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson rejected accusations of abuses against ethnic minorities and warned of an unspecified "robust Chinese response" to a potential boycott.

If there were to be a boycott, it could mean export issues for Los Angeles, said Stephen Cheung, president of World Trade Center Los Angeles, a non-profit that works to attract foreign investment to the region.

“Los Angeles is so dependent on international trade, and China is actually our top trading partner when it comes to imports and exports," Cheung said. “In fact, we're looking at the numbers for 2019, L.A. ... is actually the number one customs district in the United States with $128 billion in two-way trade, and China is the number one trading partner.”

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Human rights groups are protesting China’s hosting of the games, which aare scheduled for February 2022. They have urged a boycott or other measures to call attention to accusations of Chinese abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans and residents of Hong Kong.

The U.S. State Department suggested an Olympic boycott was among the possibilities, but a senior official said later that a boycott has not been discussed. The International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic committees have said in the past that they oppose boycotts.