Winter Olympics: UK consider diplomatic boycott amid human rights & Peng Shuai concerns

The UK will consider a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games amid concerns over human rights violations in China

The UK will consider a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games amid concerns over human rights violations in China.

The US announced yesterday it would impose a diplomatic boycott on Beijing 2022, with America’s senior politicians now set to avoid the Games.

US athletes will still compete at the Winter Olympics, which is scheduled for February 4th to 20th in the Chinese capital. 

"The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC's [People's Republic of China] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

"The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 per cent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games."

In response, UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab revealed he would not be attending the Games, and confirmed a conversation about wider representation would soon be held.

"I was asked whether I will go, I will not go and we'll consider that [the level of wider representation] in due course," he said, according to Reuters.

Dominic Raab has revealed the UK will discuss a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has also urged the UK Government "to finally take a stand".

A US boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics was first raised by President Joe Biden last month, in response to concerns about China’s human rights record. This includes the country’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Mitt Romney, President of the 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City, were among those to have called for a boycott.

These calls only intensified after concerns rose about the treatment of tennis star Peng Shuai, who made sexual assault allegations against China’s former Vice Premier, Zhang Gaoli, at the start of November.

Shuai, a former world number one doubles player, claimed she was coerced into having sex with Zhang, which began an on-off consensual relationship with the former Politburo Standing Committee member.

There are serious concerns for the safety of Peng Shuai

Peng’s post was deleted around 30 minutes after it was published, and she subsequently disappeared from public view for three weeks.

This sparked serious concern among the tennis community, with WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon demanding it be verifiably proved that Peng was safe and free.

When this did not happen, Simon announced the WTA would withdraw from all tournaments in China, including Hong Kong, despite the significant financial impact of this.

Human rights groups have used the situation to urge the international community to boycott Beijing 2022.

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