Canada has officially announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, and Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge made a joint statement on Wednesday to officially announce that no government officials would be attending the 2022 Games.
Trudeau cited the Chinese government’s “repeated human rights violations” as the reason for the boycott, having told reporters earlier in the day that it was important for Canada to “align with its allies.”
“We have been very clear over the past many years of our deep concerns over human rights violations,” Trudeau said at a press conference.
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With the move, Canada follows in the footsteps of the United States, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Australia, and New Zealand, all announced their diplomatic boycott of the Olympics yesterday.
The announcement has little effect on the actual events of the Games themselves. As of now, Canada is still expected to send a regularly-sized contingent across the 15 different sports.
“We know that our athletes need to have one thing in mind that is representing their countries to the best of their ability and medal for Canada,” Trudeau said. “They will be focused on that we will do everything necessary to ensure their safety and ensure that they are able to focus single-mindedly on bringing home the gold for Canada.”
Following the annoucement, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees sent out a joint statement.
“We understand and respect the government’s decision to not send diplomatic missions to the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” the COC and CPC wrote. “The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee remain concerned about the issues in China but understand the Games will create an important platform to draw attention to them.”
The Beijing Olympics are set to kick off on February 4 and run through February 20.