2022 Beijing Winter Olympics: Australia Joins US In Diplomatic Boycott
Sydney: After the US, now Australia will not send its officials to February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. The decision was taken amid “disagreement” with China over a slew of issues that have plunged relations into the most serious crisis since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision was in response to “human rights abuses” in China’s Xinjiang province and “many other issues that Australia has consistently raised”. Athletes would still attend, he added.
“Australia will not step back from the strong position we’ve had standing up for Australia’s interests and obviously it is of no surprise that we wouldn’t be sending Australian officials to those Games,” Morrison said.
On Monday, the US said it would not send diplomats to the Games in Beijing over concerns about China’s human rights record.
Australia’s ties with China have been in freefall in recent years, with Beijing introducing a raft of punitive sanctions on Australian goods.
China has been angered at Australia’s willingness to legislate against overseas influence operations, to bar Huawei from 5G contracts and call for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia’s recent move to equip its navy with nuclear-powered submarines under a new defence pact with Britain and the United States — widely seen as an attempt to counter Chinese influence in the Pacific region — further infuriated Beijing.
At least two Australians are currently being detained in China, with journalist Cheng Lei held for more than a year and academic Yang Jun on trial for espionage.