Australia Announces Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will join the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

“It will come as no surprise that the Australian government will not be sending any official representatives to the forthcoming Winter Games in China,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Dec. 8.

“For some time, people have been very aware of that we have been raising a number of issues that have not been received well in China, and there’s been a disagreement between us on those matters.”

Beijing Olympics
A man walks past the Olympic rings on the exterior of the National Stadium, in Beijing, on Feb. 2, 2021. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo)

Morrison pointed to Beijing’s opposition to Australia’s foreign interference legislation and rules for foreign investment which take a “very strong stand” in protecting the country’s national interests.

He also said the Chinese regime had been “very critical” of Australia’s efforts to strengthen its national defence force, including through the trilateral AUKUS security pact with Britain and America that will see Australia acquire nuclear powered submarines.

The prime minister also pointed to the Chinese regime’s human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region of China.

Morrison said the Chinese regime “has consistently” denied opportunities to meet with Australian officials to resolve issues.

“It is not surprising that Australian government officials would therefore not be going to China for those games,” he said.

The Chinese regime made its issues with Australia public in a 14-point letter of grievances and demands that the Chinese embassy in Canberra leaked to reporters last year.

The dossier included complaints about Huawei being banned from Australia’s 5G infrastructure network, politicians speaking out publicly against the Chinese regime, and freedom of the press, among many others.

The Chinese regime demanded that Australia fix these issues before it would resume normal diplomatic relations after Chinese officials refused to answer calls from Australian politicians and officials.

Morrison made it clear that the diplomatic boycott did not extend to athletes who could still compete in the games.

“Australia [is a] great sporting nation, and I very much separate the issues of sport and these other political issues,” he said.

“They are issues between two governments and I would like to see those issues resolved but they are not resolved.

“Australia will not step back from the strong position we’ve had standing up for Australia’s interests and consistent with that position, then obviously it is no surprise that we wouldn’t be sending Australian officials to those games.”

From The Epoch Times