Australia joins Beijing Winter Olympics diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights abuses
Scott Morrison has confirmed Australian officials will not attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, joining the United States in a diplomatic boycott of next year’s games.
Morrison told reporters in Sydney it was “not surprising” given the deterioration in the diplomatic relationship between Canberra and Beijing that officials would not attend next year’s winter games.
“© Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP Prime minister Scott Morrison confirms Australian officials will not attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as part of a diplomatic boycott.Australian athletes will, though,” the prime minister said on Wednesday. “Australia’s a great sporting nation and I very much separate the issues of sport and these other political issues.”
Morrison said he would like to see longstanding tensions between Australia and China resolved, but he said the government did not intend to “step back from the strong position we had standing up for Australia’s interest”.
Confirming the diplomatic boycott, Morrison raised human rights abuses in Xinjiang as one of the factors Australia had “consistently raised”. He said the Chinese government had not made itself available to talk through Australia’s concerns about human rights.
The prime minister was asked whether he expected any retaliation from China in response to the boycott. Morrison said any reprisals would be “completely and utterly unacceptable and there would be no grounds for that whatsoever”.
Morrison said Australia remained open to dialogue with China “whether it’s their concerns with our foreign interference legislation or foreign investment rules”. But he repeated Australia would continue to pursue policies in the national interest.
The New Zealand government said on Tuesday it would not send diplomatic representatives at a ministerial level to the Winter Olympics, citing “a range of factors but mostly to do with Covid”.
The Biden administration has also confirmed the United States will pursue a diplomatic boycott. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, cited China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses”.
That decision drew a furious reaction from the Chinese government, which flatly denies crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and dismissed Washington’s boycott as “posturing and political manipulation”. AdChoices
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