US-China rivalry inflamed by boycott and democracy

Days before Washington announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics this week, China issued a white paper that touts its own democracy and criticizes the American one.

Two elements possibly tipped the balance for a boycott in the US, which had remained uncertain for months. The first is the public disappearance of tennis player Peng Shuai, where Beijing has ignored calls from the International Tennis Association to provide information about her whereabouts.

Then there was the case of Lithuania, whose exports to China were virtually stopped by Beijing after its recognition of Taiwan, thus ignoring WTO free trade provisions.

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