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Australia Confirm Diplomatic Boycott of Winter Olympics In China

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Australia Confirm Diplomatic Boycott of Winter Olympics In China

Australia have confirmed they are the second country to join a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China. 

The decision comes after the US announced their diplomatic boycott on Monday (6 December) due to China’s ongoing human rights ‘atrocities’. 

In response, China said the US will ‘pay the price’ for their decision, telling everyone to ‘wait and see’. 

On Wednesday (8 December), Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that no Australian officials would attend the Games, which should come as ‘no surprise', he said, due to the breakdown in diplomatic relations between the two nations.   

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Morrison said China refused to talk to Australia about ‘the human rights abuses in Xinjiang and many other issues that Australia has consistently raised’. 

So, he confirmed that Australian government officials will not travel to China next February, but that Australian athletes will still be able to compete. 

In response to a question asking if Australia will receive backlash from China, Morrison said: “That would be completely and utterly unacceptable and there would be no grounds for that whatsoever. 

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“I’ll always stand up for Australia’s interests and what Australians believe is right and we are living in an uncertain time.” 

Steven Bradbury, who you may remember winning speed skating gold at the 2002 Games after all his opponents fell over, has backed Australia’s decision. 

He told The Australian: “You can't take away an athlete's dreams. But if China isn't going to act in a way so that we can all live together on planet Earth and if China is going to continue to put tariffs on our products and try to hamstring us, then we need to act.” 

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy
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The backlash comes partly in response to China’s wrongful detainment of around 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims in camps, according to the UN. 

China has said they have only detained legitimate prisoners, but it is widely believed individuals are being held on the basis of being Muslim, and are subject to abuse. 

Official documents, seen by BBC Panorama, even show how inmates are locked up, indoctrinated and punished brutally.

Earlier this week, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hit back at the US for their decision to boycott the Games due to these violations. 

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Spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement: "The Winter Olympics is not a stage for political show and political manipulation.” 

He added that a diplomatic boycott is 'a serious stain on the spirit of the Olympic Charter' and described the move as 'a naked political provocation, and a serious offense to the 1.4 billion Chinese people'. 

Zhao said China would take 'resolute countermeasures' to any country that boycotts their Olympic Games. 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: China, Winter Olympics, Australia

Abbi Murray
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