New Zealand Refuses to Send Diplomats to Beijing Olympics

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson announced on Tuesday, New Zealand will not be sending diplomatic representatives at a ministerial level to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. 

“We’ve already made clear that we won’t be there at a ministerial level,” Robertson said.

According to Robertson, the decision was due to a “range of factors but mostly to do with COVID.” 

Robertson also said that New Zealand communicated this to China in October.

Meanwhile, the United States on Tuesday morning announced it would stage a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympic Games in protest of China’s persecution of the Uyghur people in the country’s Xinjiang province.

“We have a fundamental commitment to promoting human rights. And we feel strongly in our position, and we will continue to take actions to advance human rights in China and beyond,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Robertson emphasized that New Zealand’s decision not to send ministers to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February was not due to the US diplomatic boycott but because New Zealand had raised its human rights concerns with China in the past.

“We’ve made clear to China on numerous occasions our concerns about human rights issues, as recently as the prime minister talking to [China’s] President Xi. So they are well aware of our view on human rights,” Robertson said.

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