On Monday, the United States said it would not send any official US government representative to the Winter Games in February “due to the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights violations.”
Now the Australian and UK governments have made the same decision ahead of the Games, which begin in less than two months.
“The right thing to do”
“It’s in Australia’s interest, it’s the right thing to do,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
China is furious, calling the US action a conspiracy to destroy ahead of the Games.
“The United States will have to pay for its mistakes,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday.
Despite the threats, Australia and the United Kingdom are choosing to follow the same path.
Relations between Australia and China have been very cold in recent years, after Australia shut down China’s Huawei from its 5G network and demanded an independent investigation into the origins of covid-19. The Beijing government has responded by blocking and imposing tariffs on key Australian imports, and Australian government officials have not communicated with their Chinese counterparts for several months, Reuters reports.
Morrison says the boycott is being implemented because the Australian government has failed to discuss Chinese barriers to trade, or alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, with China.
The Australian Olympic Committee welcomes the fact that the diplomatic boycott will not affect the approximately 40 Australian athletes expected to participate in the Games.
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