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Australia, Britain, Canada follow U.S. with Beijing Winter Olympics boycott

"[Australia] blindly follows the U.S., does not know right from wrong and has no bottom line," China's foreign ministry said in response.

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Australia, Britain, Canada follow U.S. with Beijing Winter Olympics boycott
The National Stadium is seen in Beijing, China, on August 7. The stadium will be used for the closing ceremony for the 2022 Winter Olympics in February. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Australia, Canada and Britain have followed the United States in ordering a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, and drew a similarly stern rebuke from the Chinese government on Thursday.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced the boycott on Monday, mainly due to China's human rights record. The other three nations followed on Wednesday.

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The diplomatic boycott means that the countries will send athletes to the Winter Games in February, but no dignitaries or government leaders.

"Canada remains deeply disturbed by reports of human rights violations in China," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Wednesday. "As a result, we won't be sending diplomatic representatives to Beijing for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

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"We'll continue to support our athletes who work hard to compete on the world stage."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Wednesday that no ministers from Britain will go to Beijing. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also said his representatives would stay home.

After the U.S. announcement, Beijing promised "countermeasures" to the diplomatic blackout -- backlash that the other three nations also received on Thursday.

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China's foreign ministry dismissed the boycotts and condemned all three countries for following the U.S. lead. Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin called Morrison a "loyalist lackey" to the United States.

"[Australia] blindly follows the U.S., does not know right from wrong and has no bottom line," the ministry said, according to the state-run Global Times.

noting China has not invited any Australian government officials to the Games and no one cares whether they come or not.

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A significant factor in all four nations' boycotts is China's treatment of its Muslim-majority Uyghurs in Xinjiang province. Western nations have accused Beijing of crimes against humanity that they say amounts to genocide, an assertion China has vehemently rejected.

The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin Feb. 4 and run through Feb. 20.

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