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Beijing Olympics: Canada discusses boycott with partners

TORONTO – Canada will continue to discuss with partners the possibility of boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, a foreign affairs spokesman said, amid the disappearance of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. recently.

Syrine Khoury, press secretary for Secretary of State Melanie Joly, said in a statement to CTVNews.ca: “Canada remains deeply concerned by disturbing reports of human rights abuses in China.

Last week, US President Joe Biden confirmed – during a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House – that he was considering a diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games next year.

In response to a question about the US President’s comments and Canada’s stance on the boycott, Khoury said they will “continue to discuss this issue with our closest partners.”

Trudeau previously said Canada has had conversations with partners and allies around the world about the Beijing Olympics.

“There are a lot of athletes in Canada and around the world that have been training, focusing a lot on this,” he said. “We’re looking for a way so that both can see them showcase their abilities and get all the hard work they’ve done over the years, while continuing to show their genuine concern.” us to the way the Chinese government behaves.”

Peng, 35, is still unknown after the tennis player publicly accused Zhang Gaoli, 75, a former deputy prime minister who was a member of the ruling Communist Party’s Politburo, of sexually assaulting her. .

Peng wrote a lengthy social media post on November 2 saying she was forced to have sex three years ago with Zhang at his home despite repeated rejections.

The post was quickly removed from her verified account on the Chinese social networking platform Weibo, although screenshots of her accusations were shared online.

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday it was not aware of the controversy surrounding Peng, a former top women’s doubles tennis title-winner at Wimbledon in 2013 and the 2014 French Open. participated in three Olympics.

David Shoemaker, CEO and Secretary General of the Canadian Olympic Committee, has previously described calls for a boycott as “misguided”.

A boycott of the Beijing Olympics was sparked, prior to Peng’s disappearance, in response to China’s political actions in Hong Kong, as well as its treatment of minorities including Buddhism. Tibetans and Muslim Uighurs.

Last month, the wife of a Canadian Uyghur supporter who spent 15 years in prison in China called on the federal government to boycott the game.

The past detentions of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been detained by China for more than 1,000 days on espionage charges, are seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. in December 2018 by order of the United States, also cited as a reason to consider a boycott.

With files by Rachel Aiello and The Canadian Press

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