The United Kingdom and Australia have joined the United States in announcing a diplomatic boycott of next year’s Beijing Olympics, CNN reports.
The US formally announced it will not send any government officials to Beijing over China’s human rights “atrocities” on Monday.
"U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC's egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can't do that," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki, referring to the region where hundreds of thousands of Uyghur Muslims are being held in reeducation camps and detention facilities, many of whom have alleged torture, rape, and forced sterilization.
"The athletes on Team USA have our full support," Psaki added. "We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home."
China has denied human rights abuses and threatened to retaliate.
Australia on Tuesday became the first country to join the US boycott.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrisson said the boycott was in response to “human rights abuses and issues in Xinjiang.”
"I am very ... happy to talk to the Chinese government about these issues, and there has been no obstacle to that occurring on our side but the Chinese government has consistently not taken those opportunities to meet with us about those issues," he said.
"I very much separate the issues of sport and the issues that are between two governments ... Australia will not step back from the strong position it's had, standing up for Australians' interests," Morrison added.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that no UK official will attend the games, labeling it “effectively” a diplomatic boycott.
“There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing,” he said. “No ministers are expected to attend and no officials. The government has no hesitation in raising these issues with China, as I did with President Xi the last time I talked to him.”
Johnson added that he does not think “sporting boycotts are sensible” and the boycott would not affect athletes.