December 08, (THEWILL) – The United Kingdom and Australia will join the United States in boycotting the Winter Olympics in China next year.
Athletes from the United Kingdom and Australia will compete in Beijing 2022, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the United Kingdom will boycott the tournament diplomatically due to human rights concerns.
On Wednesday, Johnson stated during Prime Minister’s Questions: “There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, no ministers are expected to attend and no officials.
“I do not think that sporting boycotts are sensible and that remains the policy of the government. The government has no hesitation in raising these [human rights] issues with China, as I did with President Xi [Jinping] the last time I talked to him.”
For Australians, the decision not to send any ambassadors was made in reaction to “human rights abuses” in China’s Xinjiang province, as well as “many other issues that Australia has consistently raised” according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“People have been very aware that we have been raising a number of issues that have not been received well in China and there’s been a disagreement between us on those matters,” said Morrison in Sydney.
“The human rights abuses in Xinjiang and many other issues that Australia has consistently raised – we have been very pleased and very happy to talk to the Chinese Government about these issues and there’s been no obstacle to that occurring on our side, but the Chinese Government has consistently not accepted those opportunities for us to meet about these issues.
“So it is not surprising, therefore, that Australian Government officials would not be going to China for those Games.
“Australian athletes will, though. Australia’s a great sporting nation and I very much separate the issues of sport and these other political issues. They’re issues between two governments.”
The Chinese embassy in Australia responded with the following statement:
“Mountains cannot stop the river from flowing into the sea. Australia’s success at the Beijing Winter Olympics depends on the performance of Australian athletes, not on the attendance of Australian officials, and the political posturing by some Australian politicians.”
China also vowed that the US would “pay the price” for its diplomatic boycott, China vowed.