Australia joins US boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

On December 8, 2021. Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison announced that, Australia will not send officials to February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Highlights

  • With this move, Australia has joined a US diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics Games.
  • Australia took this decision amid disagreement with China over several issues, ranging from Australia’s foreign interference laws to a move to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
  • The Prime Minister also cited human rights abuses in the Xinjiang province as well as Beijing’s freeze on ministerial contact with Australia.

US decision on Winter Olympics

The United States took the decision to boycott the Games over China’s genocide of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.

Australia-China relation

  • Australia’s relation with China have been downgrading in recent years, with the introduction of a raft of punitive sanctions by China on Australian goods in a political dispute.
  • This issue has plunged the ties between both the countries into the most serious crisis since Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
  • China has also been angered at Australia’s willingness to legislate against overseas influence operations, to call for an independent investigation into the origin of Covid-19 pandemic and to bar Huawei from 5G contracts.
  • The relation has also weakened over Australia’s recent decision to equip its navy with nuclear-powered submarines under a new defence pact called AUKUS, with United States and Britain. The AUKUS alliance is seen as an attempt to counter Chinese influence in Pacific region.

The 2022 Winter Olympics

The 2022 Winter Olympics are an upcoming international winter multi-sport event. This event is scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20, 2022 in Beijing, China. It will be the first Winter Olympics in China as well as last of three consecutive Olympics which is to be held in East Asia, after 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, and 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

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