Tuesday, November 28, 2023

After US, UK considering diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics: Reports

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Days after US President Joe Biden’s announcement on the boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he is also considering the same over the alleged human rights violations in China, according to media reports. Russian news agency Sputnik stated, citing media reports, that the UK government is actively discussing the possibility to refrain from sending officials to the Winter Olympics in Beijing, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss believed to be a supporter of the idea. Citing Times newspaper, Sputnik reported that under one of the considered options, the UK may be represented by the ambassador but not any other official.

On Thursday, United States President Joe Biden had said that his administration was considering a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, according to NBC News. Asked about the possibility of the boycott during an Oval Office meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, Biden responded that it was “something we are considering”, according to NBC News. The White House usually sends a delegation to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, but this time, under a diplomatic boycott, it would not send the delegation.

The diplomatic boycott call has been advocated by top US lawmakers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called for such a boycott, a move to protest against China’s abuses of human rights, said CNN. Responding to it, China said that the politicization of the Olympics will harm the global sports movement in the world.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reacted following US President Joe Biden’s remarks on the diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Sputnik reported. “The 2022 Winter Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games in Beijing are the stages for athletes from all over the world, and they are the real protagonists of the upcoming Games,” Zhao Lijian said. “Any politicization of sport violates the Olympic spirit and harms the interests of athletes of all countries,” the spokesman added.

Human rights activists have raised their voices against China’s detention of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province and crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. In March, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials and one entity for alleged human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to Sputnik.

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