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Allies joining US in diplomatic boycott of Olympics

Olympics Beijing 2022 diplomatic Boycott
Posted at 4:36 AM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 14:44:13-05

The prime ministers of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom say they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing over China's human rights concerns.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it should come as no surprise that Australian officials would boycott the event after the nation's relationship with China had broken down in recent years. He says Australian athletes would still be able to compete.

China responded furiously, saying no Australian officials had been invited to the Olympics and "no one would care about whether they come or not."

Morrison says China has also been very critical of Australia's efforts to have a strong defense force in the region, particularly its decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government has been in talks with allies about the boycott in recent months.

“We are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” Trudeau told reporters, according to Politico. "I don't think the decision by Canada or by many other countries to choose to not send diplomatic representation to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics is going to come as a surprise to China. We have been very clear over the past many years of our deep concerns around human rights violations."

In London on Wednesday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament that his country would "effectively" boycott the Olympics.

"No ministers are expected to attend, and no officials," Johnson said.

However, Johnson stopped short of calling the move an official diplomatic boycott, adding that he does not "think that sporting boycotts are sensible."

Earlier this week, the White House confirmed that Biden administration officials would not attend the upcoming games in Beijing due to China's abuse of human rights, particularly the internment of the Uyghur people in the northwest part of the country.

"Given the People's Republic of China's ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses, the Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday.

China has criticized the Biden administration for "politicizing sports" and violating the spirit of the Olympic games. The country has also promised "firm countermeasures," but has not provided details on such measures.

The diplomatic moves by Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia do not affect their athletes’ ability to compete in the Winter Games.