British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says no UK government minister will attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, calling it “effectively” a diplomatic boycott of the Games.
Johnson was asked in the House of Commons whether the UK will join the United States, Australia and Lithuania in a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games in February over Beijing’s human rights record.
He said he opposed boycotts involving athletes, but Britain would effectively be boycotting the Olympics diplomatically.
“There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing,” Johnson told lawmakers.
“No ministers are expected to attend and no officials.
“The government has no hesitation in raising these issues with China, as I did with President Xi the last time I talked to him.”
The British move follows the Australian federal government’s decision not to send diplomats to Beijing.
Prime Minster Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday that Australia was refusing to send officials to the Olympics, which open on February 4.
Morrison said the decision was made due to human rights abuses in China.
The federal government, though, is still supporting the participation of the Australian team – expected to be about 40 athletes – which has been welcomed by the Australian Olympic Committee.
The White House had confirmed on Monday that it was staging a diplomatic boycott of the Games to protest Chinese human rights abuses, prompting China’s vow to react with “firm countermeasures.”