China Olympics: Australia will not send a team

Image copyright ACTU Image caption AFLW captain Jodie Schulz will join other sporting stars to boycott the opening ceremony

Australia will not send a team to the Beijing Olympics in the wake of China’s growing military power, the country’s sports minister says.

The US and the Canadian Olympic Committee are also refusing to send a team to the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, partly because of human rights concerns.

Sports governing bodies are to debate the issue next week.

“Australia’s future depends on our ability to stand up for fundamental values,” said minister Greg Hunt.

The move has come amid growing criticism of China’s record on human rights by the West, including from US President Donald Trump’s administration.

At a recent NATO summit in Brussels, Mr Trump called on European nations to increase their defence spending “immediately”.

“Cooperation and friendship have been fundamental values for Australia, but we’re going to have to increasingly have a different set of values and conduct ourselves differently,” Mr Hunt told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Australia’s two-year-old team in the world’s largest sporting event, the AFLW, was also boycotting the opening ceremony on Sunday, after the team chairman penned an open letter in February criticising China’s human rights record.

That has been echoed by other sporting stars.

Football player Caitlin Foord will travel to Beijing with the US women’s national team in June, but said a boycott would be an option.

“What do we do when our nations are attacked?” she wrote in the Washington Post. “We unite. We take to the streets. Our actions speak louder than our words.”

The AFLW is no stranger to criticism – a member of the inaugural squad wore a shirt in support of human rights at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Stephen Dank, the sports scientist who gave evidence to the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) investigation into supplements use in Australian sport, will also not be attending.

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