Australia joins US in diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

Morrison said that while Australian athletes will continue to attend the games in February, the government will keep official representatives at home.

Speaking at a news conference in Sydney, the Australian leader said “human rights abuses and issues in Xinjiang” were among the concerns the Australian government raised with Beijing.

“I am very happy to talk with the Chinese government about these issues, and there was no obstacle to that on our side, but the Chinese government did not constantly take these opportunities to meet us on those issues,” he said. She said.

For months, activists have called for a boycott of the Games due to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet and its political campaign in Hong Kong.

The United States and other Western countries have accused Beijing of imprisoning more than one million Muslim-majority Uighurs in detention centers in Xinjiang, where some former detainees claim they have been tortured, raped or forced sterilization.

Beijing denies the allegations, saying the camps are rehabilitation centers designed to combat separatism and Islamic terrorism in the far west of the region.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia on Wednesday criticized Canberra’s decision to boycott the Games and said it would not improve the already cold relations between the two countries.

“As we all know, the blame for the current impasse in China-Australia relations lies squarely with the Australian side,” the statement said.

While the International Olympic Committee said in January that a country’s awarding of the Games did not mean it endorsed its own “human rights standards,” activists said giving the high-profile event to China added legitimacy to the ruling Communist Party’s actions.

Morrison’s announcement follows a decision by the Biden administration 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 still be allowed to compete in the Games, but the administration will not send government officials. The same policy applies to the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games scheduled to be held in Beijing in March.

After the US decision, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it had launched a “formal protest” with Washington and vowed to take “resolute countermeasures”, without specifying what those measures would be.

The United States will host the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, while the 2032 Games will be held in Brisbane, Australia.

Speaking on Wednesday, Morrison said Australia is a great sporting country and wished the IOC all the best for the Winter Games in Beijing.

“I make a lot of separation between 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.”


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