Canada joins US and UK in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics – .

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Canada joins US and UK in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics – .


Chinese Foreign Ministry Says of Australian Diplomatic Boycott: “Whether they come or not, nobody cares”

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OTTAWA – Canada will not send diplomats to the Beijing Olympics in early February, effectively joining a diplomatic boycott with the United States, United Kingdom and Australia denouncing alleged human rights violations by China .

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“Like many partners around the world, we are extremely concerned about the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday, flanked by Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and the Minister of Sports Pascale St-Onge, as well as Member of Parliament and former Olympian Adam Van Koeverden.

As the boycott only affects diplomatic staff and government officials, Canadian athletes will still compete in the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games starting next February. The Foreign Minister argued that Canada’s move sends a “strong signal” to China without unfairly affecting the athletes working to compete in Beijing.

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Joly and St-Onge said their top priority for the country’s athletes competing in China was their safety, and that the RCMP would work with the Canadian Olympic Committee to ensure they are properly protected during the games.

But neither minister was able to provide details on what that meant.

“There are already officers who have been hired to ensure the safety of the athletes and we are still in discussions with the RCMP with (Minister of Public Safety) Marco Mendicino. Everything will be in place to ensure that the athletes are safe, ”said St-Onge.

China faces strong and growing international criticism of what many countries, including Canada, have called the “genocide” of its Uyghur minority, as well as its recent tough tactics to increase its control over Hong King by cracking down on democracy. and civil liberties through a security law enacted during the pandemic.

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China also recently released two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been held for more than three years in what Canada has called “hostage diplomacy.”

Federal opposition parties have criticized the Trudeau government for taking so long to decide to boycott the Games and for failing to act sooner to pressure them to be postponed for a year or even transferred to a other country.

According to former Canadian Ambassador to China Guy St-Jacques, delaying the games for a year to allow an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses in China would have been the clearest and most effective message the Canada could have sent.

But a widespread diplomatic boycott is the second best option at this point and will still send a strong message to Chinese President Xi Jinping without forcing Canadian athletes to suffer the consequences of a full boycott, he said.

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“It will have an impact because it will result in a loss of the face of President Xi Jinping. We know he wanted to use the Olympics to show that China is a modern country, a superpower that knows how to organize things, ”said the former ambassador.

It will have an impact because it will lead to a loss of the face of President Xi Jinping

“He hoped that the presence of foreign leaders there would confirm that in fact China has become so powerful that no one would dare to criticize it,” he continued, adding that he expected many more, if not all members of the European Union join in the boycott. .

The United States was the first country to officially announce that it will not send any diplomatic or personal envoys with its athletes to the upcoming Winter Games at a press conference on Monday, citing “genocide and crimes against it. ‘ongoing humanity in Xinjiang’ against the Uyghur people.

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“The diplomatic or official representation of the United States would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the [People’s Republic of China]”And the gross human rights violations and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we just can’t do that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing.

Two other Canadian allies, Australia and then the United Kingdom, followed suit on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, each denouncing China’s repressive actions and human rights violations against its own people.

Joly said she took every opportunity to discuss the Olympics with Canada’s allies in the G7 and NATO, possibly to urge them to follow suit in the diplomatic boycott.

“There are still a lot of countries studying the issue but clearly I want to make sure, as I move towards the G7… that I raise this issue and I want to make sure that more countries in the world send a strong signal, ”Joly mentioned.

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The move is likely to worsen Canada’s already strained relationship with Beijing, especially as the Trudeau government is also expected to announce a formal decision on whether or not Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will be allowed to participate in Canada’s 5G network.

In an interview with the National Post last week, Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu warned that such boycotts are inconsistent with Olympic Games values.

“It’s for the people. It is for humanity. It’s not for politicians, ”Cong said. “It is against the spirit of the Olympic Games to politicize these issues. “

China has denied any wrongdoing in Xinjiang and said the abuse allegations are fabricated.

His Foreign Office spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily briefing in Beijing that Australian politicians were engaged in “political positions.”

“Whether they come or not, nobody cares,” he added.

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