Canada announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics

Australia and Britain have also said that their officials will stay away from the Games in China. PHOTO: AFP

OTTAWA (AFP, REUTERS) - Canada said on Wednesday (Dec 8) it will join the United States and other countries in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics in February.

"As many (of our) partners around the world, we are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference.

"That is why we are announcing today that we will not be sending any diplomatic representation to the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games this winter."

Canadian athletes will compete in the Games, he said.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Canada in a written statement accused Mr Trudeau of making false claims.

"Based on ideological biases as well as lies and rumors, Canada and a handful of western countries have been flagrantly engaged in political maneuvering, with the attempt to disrupt the smooth progress of Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Their clumsy performance can hardly find any support and is doomed to fail," the spokesperson said.

Canada's move follows the US announcing on Monday its diplomatic boycott, over what Washington termed China's "genocide" of the Uighur minority in the Xinjiang region and other human rights abuses.

Australia and Britain also said on Wednesday that their officials would stay away.

The allies have a growing discord with China over a slew of issues that has plunged relations into the most serious crisis since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

Canada in particular saw its relations with China plunge into a deep freeze over Beijing's detention of two Canadian nationals in response to Canada's arrest on a US warrant of Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei's founder.

All three were released and repatriated in September.

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