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Beijing Games diplomatic boycott gains support

Beijing Games diplomatic boycott gains support

dpa
Sydney
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday confirmed that Australia would follow the United States’ lead in carrying out a diplomatic boycott of February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, saying the decision was “not surprising.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson partly followed suit, saying no British government ministers would attend in what would “effectively be a diplomatic boycott” over human rights concerns.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will also not attend the Games, his spokesperson told broadcaster ARD, but it is not yet being classed as a diplomatic boycott as some German politicians have called for. The diplomatic boycotts would not affect athletes, who would still attend. However, German double Olympic luge champion Natalie Geisenberger is not ruling out her own boycott of the Games in Beijing which run February 4-20.
“The conditions we experienced there on site speak for not necessarily going there again. Even with the Olympics, I am considering whether I would do that to myself again,” the 33-year-old told Bayerischer Rundfunk having undergone quarantine in China before a warm-up race.
The Australian prime minister cited disagreements between Beijing and Canberra as one of the reasons for his boycott, including China’s “concerns with our foreign interference legislation or foreign investment rules” as well as its criticism of Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
Speaking to reporters in Sydney, Morrison went on to point out that Australia also raised concern over “human rights abuses in Xinjiang and many other issues” and has been available to discuss them with China, “but the Chinese government has consistently not accepted those opportunities for us to meet about these issues.” Both Morrison and Britain’s Johnson said they did not agree with sporting boycotts.
“It is not surprising... that Australian government officials would, therefore, not be going to China for those Games. Australian athletes will, though,” Morrison said.
“Australia is a great sporting nation and I very much separate the issues of sport and these other political issues. They’re issues between two governments.” China laughed off the development.

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