UK, Canada to join boycott of Beijing Olympics

Britain will join Canada, Australia and the US in a diplomatic boycott against the Winter Olympics in Beijing to protest China's human rights abuses against Uyghurs.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a meeting of the special committee on the COVID-19 outbreak, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 20, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS//BLAIR GABLE)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a meeting of the special committee on the COVID-19 outbreak, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 20, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS//BLAIR GABLE)

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 on Wednesday.

Australia and Britain will join the diplomatic boycott, their prime ministers said on Wednesday, as other allies weighed similar moves to protest at China's human rights record.

President Joe Biden's administration cited what the United States calls genocide against minority Muslims in China's Xinjiang region. China denies all rights abuses.

 DISPLAY OF the 100-day countdown to the opening of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing last week. (credit: THOMAS PETER/REUTERS) DISPLAY OF the 100-day countdown to the opening of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing last week. (credit: THOMAS PETER/REUTERS)

"Many partners around the world are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government. That's why we are announcing today that we will not be sending any diplomatic representation to the Beijing Olympics," Trudeau told reporters.

Britain said on Wednesday it will also join the boycott, drawing a stern rebuke from China, which said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was trying to smear the Games.

The White House announced on Monday that US 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.

Pressed by two different lawmakers in parliament if Britain would follow suit, Johnson said: "There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, no ministers are expected to attend and no officials."

"I do not think that sporting boycotts are sensible and that remains the policy of the government," he added.

China said it had not invited any 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.