France Will Not Join Olympic Diplomatic Boycott, Says Minister

France’s education minister said the country will not join a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, although Paris is still seeking a common European Union stance on the issue.

When asked about a boycott, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer on Thursday told BFM TV that France “will not do it”, saying that “sports is a world in itself, which must be protected from political interference.”

Blanquer added that while Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu will attend the Games, France would continue to condemn human rights violations in China.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a press conference that he was still seeking a common EU decision regarding a possible boycott.

“When it comes to the issue of the diplomatic boycott, this question will be dealt with at the European level,” Le Drian told journalists.

The United States, Canada, Australia and Britain have all announced this week that it will not send diplomatic representation to Beijing for the Games to condemn China’s human rights abuses against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

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