(CNN) – Australia will join United State in a diplomatic district Winter Olympics in Beijing 2022, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday. Canada will do the same, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his official Twitter account. The United Kingdom also joins this measure.
Morrison said that while Australian athletes will continue to attend the Games in February, the government will keep official representatives at home.
At a press conference in Sydney, the Australian leader said “human rights abuses and problems in Xinjiang” were among the concerns the Australian government raised to Beijing.
“I am very happy to talk with the Chinese government on these issues, and there was no obstacle to that happening from our side, but the Chinese government did not consistently take these opportunities to meet with us on those issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also join the diplomatic boycott.
“Canada remains deeply concerned about reports of human rights abuses in China. As a result, we will not be sending diplomatic representatives to Beijing for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. We will continue to support our hard-working athletes to compete on the global stage,” Trudeau said in a tweet.
Canada remains deeply troubled by reports of human rights abuses in China. As a result, we will not send diplomatic representatives to Beijing for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. We will continue to support athletes who are working hard to compete on the world stage.
Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 8, 2021
For its part, the United Kingdom said on Wednesday it would join the United States, Canada and Australia in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, drawing harsh rebukes from China, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said was trying to discredit the Games, Reuters reported.
“There will be a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics already, and no ministers or officials are expected,” Johnson was quoted as saying. “I don’t think the sports boycott makes sense and this is still government policy,” he added.
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French President Emmanuel Macron has said he would like to do something that “has a beneficial effect” rather than launching a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.
“We must be clear, or say we will do a complete boycott and not send any athletes, or say we will try to get back to things and try to have a beneficial effect,” Macron said.
This issue should not be politicized especially when it comes to small symbolic measures.” Macron said he would prefer to work with the International Olympic Committee to ensure China protects all athletes, in light of the recent incident with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai.
“We will assess the development of the situation with other Europeans and the International Olympic Committee.”
What’s going on
For months, activists have called for a boycott of the Games due to human rights abuses by the Chinese government in Xinjiang and Tibet and political repression in Hong Kong.
The United States and other Western countries have accused Beijing of holding more than one million Muslim-majority Uyghurs in Xinjiang detention centers, where some former detainees claim they have been tortured, raped or forcibly sterilized.
Beijing denies the allegations and claims the camps are rehabilitation centers designed to combat separatism and Islamic terrorism in the far west of the country.
The Chinese embassy in Australia on Wednesday criticized Canberra’s decision to join the games boycott, saying the decision would not improve the already cold relations between the two countries.
“As we all know, the current state of China-Australia relations is directly blamed on the Australian side,” the statement said.
Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in January that a country awarding the Games did not mean it would agree to it.human rights standardsActivists said awarding the high-profile event to China added legitimacy to the actions of the ruling Communist Party.
Morrison’s announcement comes after the Biden administration decided on Monday not to send an official US delegation to the Games, the first country to confirm its diplomatic boycott.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the US boycott was a statement against “the ongoing genocide in China and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang”.
American athletes will be able to continue competing in the Games, but the administration will not send officials. The same policy applies to the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games, scheduled for Beijing in March.
After the US decision, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it had initiated an “official representation” with Washington and promised “strong countermeasures”, without specifying what those measures were.
The United States will host the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, while the 2032 Olympics will be held in Brisbane, Australia.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Morrison said Australia is a great sporting country and wishes the IOC the best at the Winter Games in Beijing.
“I often separate issues of sport and issues between two governments,” Morrison said. “Australia will not back down from the strong position it has had in defending Australian interests.”
Informe de Ben Westcott, Caitlin McGee, Xiaofei Xu, Meredith Ruleman y Reuters
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