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Countries boycotting China’s winter Olympics

The list of countries that have said they will not send government officials to the Winter Olympics in Beijing is growing.

The US was the first to announce a diplomatic boycott of the China games, citing the country’s human rights abuses. Now, other nations are following suit.

Athletes from the countries will still continue to compete in the games, which are scheduled to begin on February 4 and run through February 20.

China has warned countries would “pay a price for their wrong moves”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press briefing in Beijing on December 9.

He added that the countries with boycotts had never been invited to the games and denied China was worried more nations would announce boycotts.

“Currently, quite a few heads of state, government and royal members have registered for the games,” Mr Wang said.

New Zealand notified China in October that it would not be sending any diplomatic representatives, citing a range of factors “mostly to do with Covid”, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said. “But we’ve made clear to China on numerous occasions our concerns about human rights issues.”

Here is a running list of countries that have said they will not send officials to the games.

The United States

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced the decision on December 6.

“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses,” Ms Psaki said.

Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was the first to follow the US into the boycott on December 7.

“The human rights abuses in Xinjiang and many other issues that Australia has consistently raised, we have been very pleased and very happy to talk to the Chinese government about these issues,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

The UK

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country would not send officials to the Olympics in the House of Commons on December 8.

“There will effectively be a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing,” Mr Johnson said. “No ministers are expected to attend, and no officials.”

Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his country’s boycott on December 8 in Ottawa with his ministers of foreign affairs and sport.

“We are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” the PM said.

Writing by Tola Oguneye