The UK will enforce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics next year in response to the country’s litany of human rights abuses.
Boris Johnson said today in Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) that “no ministers are expected to attend or officials”.
However, the Prime Minister said that he was not in favour of a full sporting boycott of the games.
It comes after US President Joe Biden today announced a full boycott of the games, meaning that no athletes will attend.
“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 told MPs.
“There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott, there will be a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“No ministers are expected to attend or officials. What I can tell the House is that I do not think sporting boycotts are sensible and that remains the policy of the government.”
The UK is the latest in a series of countries to announce diplomatic boycotts of the games, with Australia and Lithuania making similar announcements recently.
They are in response to Beijing’s ethnic cleansing campaign of Uyghur Muslims in the country’s north and the freedom of speech crackdown in Hong Kong.
Senior Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith said in parliament that it was important that the UK acted “against this dictatorial, brutal Chinese regime that is persecuting everybody from Christians through to Tibetans and terrorising the Uyghurs”.
The UK’s boycott will likely spark a strong backlash from the Chinese government.
Beijing responded to Biden’s full boycott with threats that they will impose ““firm countermeasures”.
Goreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said: “Without being invited, American politicians keep hyping the so-called diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is purely wishful thinking and grandstanding.
“If the US side is bent on going its own way, China will take firm countermeasures.”