British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this Wednesday, December 7, that British ministers and officials would implement a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
At the Prime Minister’s questioning session in the House of Commons, Johnson was asked whether Britain would boycott the Winter Olympics because of China’s violation of the rights of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Johnson replied that the government “has not hesitated” to express concern about these abuses and will implement an effective diplomatic boycott, as no British ministers or officials will be present.
Johnson assured that athletes would be able to participate because he did not believe that sport boycotts were reasonable and said that this would continue to be government policy.
The United States announced Monday that it will implement a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics because of “genocide and ongoing crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights violations.”
In western China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Uighur Muslims have endured years of abuse because of their identity and culture. According to UN figures, at least 1 million Uighurs are held in places Beijing calls “vocational education centers” but which critics and civil society refer to as places of indoctrination, harassment and torture.
Several countries have accused China of genocide against Uighurs. Beijing denies any wrongdoing in the area, calling the accusations “a lie and a political virus.”
Canada also announced similar actions with the US and UK on Tuesday.
* Aicha Sandoval Alaguna contributed to writing this note.
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