Speaking to reporters in Ottawa yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would not send an official delegation to the games, which will be held from February 4 to 20 in the Chinese capital.
Trudeau said he thought the decision would not “shock China”.
“Our stance has been very clear over the past years about the deep concerns surrounding human rights violations and this is a continuation of us expressing our deep concern over human rights violations,” he said. .
However, Canadian athletes will still participate in the Olympics, Trudeau added.
The move follows similar decisions from Australia and the United States, with President Joe Biden’s administration citing China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in western Xinjiang as a reason for boycotting the Olympics.
“US diplomatic representatives or officials cannot treat the Olympics as normal and we cannot do that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier this week.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said that “there will be an effective diplomatic boycott” of the Olympics in Beijing.
However, he reiterated his opposition to sports boycotts, which he found absurd.
“No ministers will attend and no officials,” Johnson said in Parliament.
The diplomatic boycott risks worsening relations between Western countries and China, which said on Wednesday it had not invited its British minister to the match.
“The Beijing Winter Olympics is a gathering of Olympic athletes and winter sports lovers around the world, not a tool of political manipulation for any country,” said a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London.
“Disputing the presence of government officials at the Beijing Winter Olympics is essentially a political defamation campaign,” the spokesman said.
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