As the Olympics begin, Trudeau criticises China's human rights record
As part of explicit or implied diplomatic boycotts of the Games, the United States and several other like-minded democracies are not sending political delegations
In a sharp message to commemorate the start of the Winter Olympics on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau eschewed the typical greetings to the host nation and instead blasted China for its human rights record.
"On the international stage, Canada has been a consistently strong voice for protecting and advancing human rights, and we remain extremely concerned by reports of human rights violations in China, including the persecution of Uyghurs," Trudeau said in a statement issued by the prime minister's office.
He emphasised that Canada will not send any diplomatic representation to the Beijing Olympics due to China's human rights record.
He did, however, express his best wishes to Canadian athletes competing in the Olympics, which have been dubbed the "Genocide Games" by several Canadian pundits.
Trudeau and his cabinet colleagues announced their plan to boycott the Games in December of last year.
As part of a stated or implied diplomatic boycott of the Games, the United States and several other like-minded nations are not sending political delegations. After it was revealed that a Chinese military commander involved in fatal confrontations with Indian soldiers along their shared border in 2020 was purportedly picked to be a torchbearer ahead of the Games, India became the latest country to join the boycott on Thursday.
Relations between Canada and China have worsened in recent years, particularly since Meng Wanzhou, a senior Huawei executive, was arrested in Vancouver in 2018 on allegations of allegedly cheating a financial institution in order to circumvent Iranian regime sanctions.
China detained two Canadians, including a former diplomat, a few days later. Trudeau referred to the situation as "hostage diplomacy." The two were released in September this year in what was considered as a prisoner exchange; Meng flew back to China after agreeing to a plea deal with American prosecutors after more than 1000 days in captivity and being charged with spying.
A decision to ban Huawei from Canada's 5G infrastructure is expected soon, which could further sever ties.
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