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Australia Joins Diplomatic Boycott of Chinese Winter Olympics

Australia se une al boicot diplomático de los Juegos de Invierno en China

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Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Wednesday that his country will not send any official representatives to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, joining the U.S. diplomatic boycott.

Morrison said the decision has been made in response to “human rights abuses” in China’s Xinjiang province and “many other issues that Australia has consistently raised.”

“I’m doing it in Australia’s national interest (…) It’s the right thing to do,” the prime minister told the media.

Australia will, however, send its athletes to the Olympic event to be held between February 4 and 20 in the Chinese capital, since “as a great sporting nation, it is important to separate the issues of sport and politics,” said Morrison.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced Monday that the U.S. government will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Games because of “the genocide and crimes against humanity that persist in (China’s northwestern region of) Xinjiang, as well as other human rights abuses” in China.

Washington decided not to ban American athletes from participating, something that would have meant a complete boycott of the Games because it does not want to “penalize” athletes who have been training for months or years to prepare for the Olympics.

New Zealand said Tuesday that it will not send any diplomatic representation to the Games either, although it justified its decision on health security grounds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other countries such as Germany and Japan have left it up in the air whether their governments will join the diplomatic boycott while Russia has called for no mixing of sport and politics.

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