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Australia joins United States in diplomatic boycott of 2022 Beijing Olympics

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 12/8/2021 From staff and wire reports
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Australia joined the United States in its diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison citing human rights abuses and other issues on Tuesday.

“I’m doing it because it’s in Australia’s national interest,” Morrison said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

The news comes one day after the Biden administration announced a U.S. diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games, which begin Feb. 4. White House press secretary Jen Psaki cited China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses” in announcing the decision.

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing games are set to open on Feb. 4, 2022. © Kevin Frayer, Getty Images The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing games are set to open on Feb. 4, 2022.

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Psaki said the administration did not want to prevent athletes from competing but still wanted to signal its disapproval of China's actions.

Morrison noted China has been critical of Australia’s efforts to further develop its defense force in the region “particularly in relation, most recently, to our decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.”

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The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom announced a security partnership in September that will allow them to share defense technology.

The Australian Olympic Committee said the diplomatic boycott would not impact the 40 or so Australian athletes preparing to compete in Beijing.

After the U.S. diplomatic boycott was announced Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused U.S. politicians of grandstanding over the issue of not sending dignitaries to attend events that China hopes will showcase its economic development and technological prowess.

Speaking to reporters at a daily briefing, Zhao said such a move would be an “outright political provocation,” but gave no details on how China might retaliate.

Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Games, and Brisbane was awarded the Games in 2032.

Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Australia joins United States in diplomatic boycott of 2022 Beijing Olympics

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