UK Joins US, AUS In Diplomatic Boycott Of China’s Winter Olympics
December 8, 2021 |UK Joins US, AUS In Diplomatic Boycott Of China's Winter Olympics
The UK joins an expanding list of countries that have imposed a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing over human-rights abuses in China, according to NYTimes.
"There will effectively be a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday. The UK joins the US, Australia, Lithuania, and New Zealand in banning top officials from attending the Winter Games.
Johnson said the UK has "no hesitation" in raising concerns over human rights abuses with China, adding, "no ministers are expected to attend and no officials."
There's been increasing pressure by the US and other countries to hold China accountable for various issues, including the abuse of Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang and the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
Johnson's comments potentially leave open the possibility that family members of the royal family could still attend.
The MP and former Tory leader, Duncan Smith, welcomed Johnson's boycott and hoped "many other countries will follow suit."
On Monday, the US officially announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden or any other US government official would not be attending the events in Beijing over China's human rights abuses.
A diplomatic boycott means athletes will be allowed to compete, but politicians will be absent.
Earlier this year, the US and Western allies hit China with multiple human rights sanctions.
In response to the US boycott, China has threatened the Biden administration with retaliation over its decision, warning the move could damage bilateral relations.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded by saying:
"The US has been fabricating the biggest lie of the century about so-called 'genocide' in Xinjiang, but facts have long debunked it."
"Based on its ideological biases as well as lies and rumors, the US attempts to interfere with the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will only expose its malicious intention and make it lose more moral principles and credibility."
"(G)enocide (applies to the) US (more) than anyone else for (its) evil crimes committed against Native Americans."
Boycotting the Winter Olympics "gravely violates the principle of political neutrality enshrined in the Olympic Charter," he said, adding that the "US should stop politicizing sports, and stop disrupting and undermining the Beijing Winter Olympics, lest it should affect bilateral dialogue and cooperation in important areas and international and regional issues."
A spokesman for China's US embassy, Lie Pengyu, called the US' boycott "a political manipulation," adding that it'll have very little impact on the success of the Winter Games.
Meanwhile, Russia's Olympic Committee called the US' action "counterproductive." Russia's Vladimir Putin had made it very clear that he would be attending the Winter Games.