TORONTO (AP) — Canada will join the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights concerns, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.
The announcement came after the White House, the Australian government and the UK government confirmed diplomatic boycotts of the Winter Games in February to protest Chinese human rights abuses. China has vowed to react with “firm countermeasures.”
Trudeau said his government has been talks with allies about it in recent months.
“We are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” Trudeau said.
“They should not be surprised we will not be sending any diplomatic representation.”
The diplomatic moves by Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia do not affect their athletes’ ability to compete in the games.
Rights groups have called for a full-blown boycott of the Beijing Winter Games, citing Chinese human rights abuses against its Uyghur minority in the northwest Xinjiang province, which some have called genocide. They also point to Beijing’s suppression of democratic protests in Hong Kong and a sweeping crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous territory.
The White House confirmed Monday that it was staging a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming games and Australia followed suit Wednesday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying it was “in Australia’s national interest.”