Britain joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics

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  • Boris Johnson
    Boris Johnson
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

The U.K. will join the U.S. and several other countries — including Australia, New Zealand, and Lithuania — in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Wednesday.

"There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing," Johnson told the British parliament, per Politico. "No ministers are expected to attend, and no officials." Athletes will still be allowed to attend because the prime minister does not believe "sporting boycotts are sensible."

The decision to pull top officials from attendance is a way of condemning China for human rights abuses against Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang while still allowing athletes to compete, The New York Times explained. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden administration officials would not appear at the Games, confirming a decision the president had been mulling over for a few weeks.

China denies all rights abuses, but has said the U.S. would pay for its decision and warned of possible retribution, per Reuters.

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