Australia considers diplomatic boycott reports of Beijing Olympics

Australia is considering a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China, according to reports. The news comes after US President Joe Biden said he was considering the step.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday that the Australian federal government is being urged by politicians from the ruling Liberal-National coalition and the opposition Labor Party to boycott the event in Beijing, which takes place in February.

The Australian government is reportedly awaiting a final decision from the Biden administration before making its own appeal on the matter.

One option being considered would involve Australia not sending any officials to the event but refraining from publicly calling it a boycott. Under a diplomatic boycott, the athletes would still participate in the Games.

A spokesman for Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said a decision “has yet to be made,” Reuters reported.

If the United States, Australia or other allies boycotted the Beijing Games, they would do so in supposed protest against China’s human rights record.

China has been criticized for issues such as the treatment of its Muslim Uyghur population and, more recently, has come under fire when tennis player Peng Shuai “disappeared” after appearing to make sexual assault allegations against a former senior Communist Party official.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) boss Thomas Bach recently held a video call with Peng in which she said she was safe. Some have claimed that is not enough to verify the well-being of the former double world number one.

READ MORE: Lessons we can learn from China’s silence on ‘missing’ tennis player

In September, Australia entered into a security partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom to help Australia build nuclear submarines – a deal that has infuriated France after already reaching a deal with Canberra .

The new trilateral agreement was widely seen as aimed at curbing China’s rise to power in the Indo-Pacific region.

Elsewhere, Australia’s relationship with China was compromised when it banned Huawei Technologies from its 5G broadband network in 2018.

Australia was also among the countries to call for an independent investigation into the origins of Covid-19.

China remains Australia’s largest trading partner despite the breakdown in relations.


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