Australia Joins US in Diplomatic Boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

The cause of the boycott is China's human rights "atrocities", especially its treatments of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

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Australia Joins US in Diplomatic Boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

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After the US announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Wednesday, 8 December, that Australian officials will also boycott the games, Reuters reported.

The diplomatic boycott is being carried out because of China's human rights "atrocities", especially the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwest China.

The boycott occurs in the backdrop of increasing evidence emerging about China's poor human rights record and the suspicious case of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.

Like the US, Morrison also said that Australian athletes will be allowed to attend the games.

"Australia's a great sporting nation and I very much separate the issues of sport and these other political issues," Morrison was quoted in The Australian.

The Australian Olympic Committee respected "the fact that diplomatic options are a matter for government and that politics and sport should be separated."

The opposition party in Australia, the Australian Labor Party, also supported the boycott.

The sports spokesperson and the foreign affairs spokesperson for the party said that "the decision, alongside other countries' diplomatic boycotts, sends a strong signal that these are not the behaviours of a responsible global power," The Guardian reported.

The US had announced its diplomatic boycott earlier this week, provoking a furious reaction from China, whose officials called it "posturing and political manipulation."

A spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, warned that the US will "pay a price for its erroneous actions," The Guardian added.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 7 December had said that it respected the decision of the US to diplomatically boycott the Beijing Olympics.

It, however, defended its handling of Peng Shuai's disappearance and reappearance, stating that it wants the "least possible interference from the political world."

(With inputs from Reuters, The Australian, and The Guardian)

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