August 14, 2022

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UK and Australia join US diplomatic boycott of China Winter Games |  international

UK and Australia join US diplomatic boycott of China Winter Games | international

Australia and the United Kingdom join the United States in its diplomatic celebration of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, scheduled for February 4-20. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his decision on Wednesday, while other allies are considering joining the US initiative to protest what the White House on Monday called China’s “atrocities” over human rights. A few hours later, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined in: “There will be a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics (sic). “No minister or public official is expected to attend these Games,” Johnson said in the House of Commons. This came in response to A direct question from Ian Duncan Smith, the former leader of the Conservative Party and spokesperson for the most aggressive parliamentary group against the Chinese government, responded to the prime minister’s demand for a tougher response to the “brutal and dictatorial regime in Beijing”: “I don’t think, however, that a sports boycott is a thing.” Reasonable.” The Chinese government escalated Xi Jinping’s campaign against or against Hong Kong democracy activists Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang It has forced the President of the United States, Joe Biden, who has promised to make human rights a pillar of his foreign policy, to take some action.

The Australian leader, Morrison, justified the decision by noting Beijing’s lack of response to various questions raised by his country on two issues: alleged human rights violations in China’s western Xinjiang region, home to the Muslim Uyghur minority, as well as the trade barriers that Beijing has adopted at the expense of Australian imports. “It is therefore not surprising that Australian diplomats are not traveling to China for these games,” the prime minister told reporters in Sydney.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin at a press conference in Beijing, China. Photo: Thomas Peter (Reuters) | Video: Reuters

China has already responded to the Australian Executive’s announcement and He did it in a less angry tone which he used after learning that the United States would boycott the sporting event. If the US announcement prompted Beijing to warn Washington that it would “pay the price” and threaten retaliation, the Chinese reaction to Australia’s decision was the remark, through Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin: “Whether they come or not, no one cares.” The spokesperson also stated that Australian politicians were involved in “political positions”. Australia’s decision not to send political representatives to the Games shows that Australia is blindly following what others are doing. “They are unable to distinguish between right and wrong,” Wenbein said at a news conference.

China has repeatedly denied allegations of abuse in Xinjiang, describing the accusations against it as “fabrications”. The Biden administration considers the Chinese authorities guilty of genocide against the Muslim minority in Xinjiang.

Relations between Australia and China, its main trading partner, are in crisis after the Canberra ban 5G broadband network of Chinese multinational technology Huawei. Canberra’s calls for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19 have also angered Chinese authorities, who have responded by imposing taxes on imports of Australian products such as barley, beef, coal and wine.

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The boycott announced by the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom only concerns diplomatic representatives as athletes from these three nationalities will compete in the Games. The Australian Olympic Committee had already indicated that the decision would not have an impact on athletes’ preparations for the event. The foundation indicated that “diplomatic decisions” are the prerogative of governments.

Germany, for its part, has left it in the air whether its government will join the diplomatic boycott while Russia – whose president, Vladimir Putin, has been invited to the Games’ opening ceremony – has called for sports and politics not to be mixed. .

Japan is also studying the possibility of not sending members of its government to the games, according to government sources cited by the newspaper. Sankei Shimbun. New Zealand announced on Tuesday that it would not send any diplomatic representation to the Games, although it justified its decision on health security reasons as a result. covid-19 pandemic.

Winter Games They will start about six months after the summer, which was held in Tokyo a year later due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We always demand the most respect possible and the least interference from the political world,” said Juan Antonio Samaranch, director of the IOC Coordination Committee for the Beijing event. “We respect the decisions of the political bodies,” he added.

The US diplomatic boycott, encouraged for months by some members of Congress and human rights groups in that country, has been decided despite efforts to improve relations between the two countries that crystallized in a video conference last month between the president. Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi. The United States plans to host the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, and prepares to host the 2030 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the US-based German Marshall Fund think-tank, warned at a congressional hearing that if other countries did not join the boycott, it would undermine the message that human rights abuses in China are unacceptable. states on Tuesday. “The only option we have is to try to persuade them to join us in this alliance,” said this expert.

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