UN chief to attend Beijing Olympics amid diplomatic boycotts

Spokesman says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received an invitation from the International Olympic Committee



People walk past a statue with the Olympic Rings titled 'Dating With the Winter Olympics' by Huang Jian, near the headquarters of the Beijing Organizing Committee in Shougang Park. — AFP
People walk past a statue with the Olympic Rings titled "Dating With the Winter Olympics" by Huang Jian, near the headquarters of the Beijing Organizing Committee in Shougang Park. — AFP

By AFP

Published: Thu 9 Dec 2021, 10:32 PM

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, his spokesman said on Thursday, after the United States announced a diplomatic boycott and several other Western nations followed suit.

“The secretary-general received an invitation from the International Olympic Committee to attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Games and he has accepted it,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

The United States said its athletes would still compete, but that it would not send a diplomatic delegation in a protest against rights abuses by China.

Australia, Britain and Canada also announced diplomatic boycotts.

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France has no plans to join the boycott, President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday, calling such a move “insignificant”.

China warned nations that they would “pay the price” for boycotts.

Advocacy groups have backed the US-led effort, with Human Rights Watch’s China director Sophie Richardson calling it a “crucial step toward challenging the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities”.


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