Boris Johnson: There will ‘effectively be a diplomatic boycott’ of Beijing Winter Olympics

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Boris Johnson: There will ‘effectively be a diplomatic boycott’ of Beijing Winter Olympics

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith urged the PM to follow the lead of the US by snubbing the Games in February due to human rights abuses

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

A woman seen shouting slogans while holding a placard during a protest against the Chinese policies in Xinjiang.
A woman seen shouting slogans while holding a placard during a protest against the Chinese policies in Xinjiang.

Boris Johnson has said there will “effectively be a diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Winter Olympics – after coming under pressure on the issue from MPs.

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and the SNP’s Kirsten Oswald had urged the prime minister to follow the lead of the US by having a full diplomatic boycott of the games in China in February 2022.

Responding first to Oswald’s call for a diplomatic boycott the PM said:”As I have said before we do not support sporting boycotts”

Johnson then added there were “certainly no plans for ministers to attend the Winter Olympics” anddalso said he had “regularly” raised concerns over human right with the Chinese government.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the chamber of the House of Commons

Duncan Smith told the House that “sadly” the PM’s words were “not strong enough.”

Johnson then told MPs: “There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. No ministers are expected to attend and no officials.”

But the PM again stressed:“What I can tell the House is I don’t think sporting boycotts are sensible and that remains the policy of the government.”

Sir Iain Duncan Smith speaking in the Commons against the persecution of Uyghur Muslims

Last week Lord Polak, a Conservative Friends of Israel honorary president, had urged the UK government “stand up on the world stage and refuse to participate” in the Olympics.

”As we speak Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang are being detained in concentration camps with testimonies of torture and rape taking place daily,” he added.

The life peer said the UK should boycott the event “in response to China’s disregard for human rights and human dignity.”

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