Canada Launches Diplomatic Boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Dec. 8 that it is launching a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

“Canada remains deeply disturbed by reports of human rights violations in China. As a result, we won’t be sending diplomatic representatives to Beijing for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” Trudeau told reporters.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said that reports of human rights abuses in the Chinese region Xinjiang motivated the government’s decision to not send their diplomats to the Games.

“Clearly, it is important for us to send a strong signal to China because we’re extremely concerned about allegations about the Uyghurs,” Joly said.

Trudeau said that the move “should not come as a surprise.”

“For months, we have been coordinating and discussing the issue with our allies,” Trudeau said.

The boycott comes as Canada and China share fragile bilateral relations, which deteriorated rapidly after Canadian police arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018 and China retaliated by arresting two Canadians.

Canadian athletes will still be allowed to compete in the Games, which is set to begin on Feb. 4.

“They need to have one thing in mind and that’s representing the country to the best of their ability and winning a gold medal for Canada,” Trudeau said.

In a statement, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees said they “understand and respect” the diplomatic boycott.

The Committees also said that they remain “concerned” about the issues in China “but understand the Games will create an important platform to draw attention to them.”

Trudeau’s announcement follows similar decisions made by the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

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