Australia announced Wednesday that it is joining the United States in the "
" of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
,” China retorted.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Medal Table
Canberra's decision not to send any official representative to the Olympics comes amid much litigation between Australia and China, ranging from the issue of Australia's foreign interference laws to the recent decision to acquire money. -nuclear-powered navies, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Australia will not go back on the strong position it has taken to defend its interests, and it is obviously not surprising that we do not send Australian officials to these Games,
" he said. , also mentioning human rights violations in the Xinjiang region and Beijing's reluctance to meet with Australian officials for discussions.
Asked at a press briefing on Wednesday, Chinese diplomacy spokesman Wang Wenbin said his country had never intended to invite senior Australian officials.
Everyone doesn't care if they come or not,
” he said.
Their political politics and their little games will not change the success of the Olympic Games
The Canberra decision "
shows for all to see that the Australian government is blindly following in the footsteps of a certain country,
" Wang said, without naming the United States.
The Australian decision, which does not prevent athletes from participating in the Games, comes after the United States announced its "
" in the name of the defense of human rights.
Beijing retorted that "
the United States will pay the price for its bad blow
Human rights groups have hailed Canberra's decision.
Sophie Richardson, director of Human Rights Watch in China, called it "a
crucial step towards challenging the crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese government against Uyghurs and other Turkish communities
According to activists, at least one million Uyghurs and other Turkish-speaking minorities, mainly Muslims, are being held in camps in Xinjiang.
China is accused of forcibly sterilizing women there and imposing forced labor.
Beijing says the camps are in fact vocational training centers intended to keep their residents away from radicalization.
Great sporting nation
Relations between Australia and China have deteriorated sharply in recent years.
China has taken a series of sanctions on Australian goods amid a political conflict that has plunged bilateral relations into their most serious crisis since the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square (1989).
China was particularly irritated by the ban on granting 5G contracts to Huawei, and the request for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia's decision to equip its navy with nuclear-powered submarines as part of a new defense pact with Britain and the United States, widely seen as an attempt to counter Chinese influence in the Pacific region, also aroused the ire of Beijing.
In addition, at least two Australians are currently detained in China: journalist Cheng Lei for more than a year and academic Yang Jun on trial for espionage.
Mr. Morrison assured that Canberra "
has always been open
" to discussions with Beijing, but that its attempts were rejected by the economic giant.
The Chinese government has never accepted that we meet to discuss these issues,
" he said.
Australia is a great sporting nation and I make a very clear distinction between sporting and political issues.
These are issues between two governments.
And I would like these issues to be resolved,
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it respected the government's decision, adding that it would not impact the Australian team's preparations.
The AOC is very careful that team members can travel to China safely, given the complexity of the environment related to the coronavirus,
" said its managing director Matt Carroll.
Getting athletes to Beijing safely, getting them to compete safely and getting them home safely remains our biggest challenge
Around 40 Australian athletes are expected to compete in the Beijing Games, which open on February 4.