British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain will join the United States and Australia in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympic games in February.
Johnson made the announcement Wednesday, in response to questions from lawmakers.
“There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, no ministers are expected to attend, and no officials,” the prime minister said in parliament. He added athletes would still participate as he did not believe “sporting boycotts are sensible.”
Britain joins the United States, New Zealand, Lithuania and Australia in deciding not to send diplomats and other government officials to the Beijing games.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a similar boycott Wednesday in Canberra, citing a range of issues including accusations of human rights abuses against China and Beijing’s refusal to hold bilateral talks to resolve lingering trade and diplomatic disputes.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin dismissed Morrison’s announcement, telling reporters “nobody cares” whether or not Australian officials attend the Olympics.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration announced Monday it would be staging a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will run between February 4 to 20.
President Biden said last month he was considering a diplomatic boycott because of criticism of China’s human rights abuses, including the detention of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province and the crackdown on pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong.
Beijing has vowed to take “countermeasures” against Washington over the boycott.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.