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Boris announces ‘diplomatic boycott’ of Beijing Olympics

He referred to the worsening relations between his country and China — including a spat over Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines — as well as human rights concerns…reports Asian Lite News.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday the UK would diplomatically boycott the Winter Olympics being held in Beijing in February by not sending any ministers to the global event.

“There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing,” Johnson told MPs when asked about the issue in parliament.

Johnson said he typically did not support “sporting boycotts”, but revealed there were no plans for government ministers to attend the games over alleged human rights abuses by China.

“I do not think that sporting boycotts are sensible — that remains the policy of the government,” he added.

He referred to the worsening relations between his country and China — including a spat over Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines — as well as human rights concerns.

China’s Foreign Ministry denounced Morrison’s announcement as “political posturing,” adding “no one would care about whether (Australian officials) come or not.”

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Britain’s royal family could still attend the 2022 Games. Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter, was an Olympic equestrian and is president of the British Olympic Association. She is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Beijing’s relations with Britain, the US and Australia have plummeted after the three Western countries announced in September that they were forming a strategic Indo-Pacific alliance that allows for greater sharing of defense capabilities. The pact will provide Australia with nuclear reactors to power its submarines, but the subs will not be nuclear-armed.

The UK move follows similar steps by other Western countries, with Australia on Wednesday also announcing it would join the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the Games.

The allies have a growing discord with China over a slew of issues that has plunged relations into the most serious crisis since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

They include human rights abuses in Xinjiang and a crackdown on pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

The White House announced on Monday that U.S. government officials will boycott the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing over China’s human rights “atrocities,” though the action allows American athletes to travel to compete.

China said it had not invited and British ministers.

“The Beijing Winter Olympics is a gathering of Olympic athletes and winter sports lovers across the world, not a tool of political manipulation for any country,” a spokesman for the Chinese embassy said.

“Making an issue out of the presence of government officials at the Beijing Winter Olympics is in essence a political smearing campaign,” the spokesman said.

Canada will join its allies in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing to send China a message over its human rights record, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

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