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U.S. May Boycott 2022 Beijing Olympics - Will Canada Follow?

If the Americans implement a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games to protest China's human rights abuses, Canada should do the same, say some.

"I think that at this late stage, it's probably the best thing to do," said Guy Saint-Jacques, who was Canada's ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016.

A diplomatic boycott would involve a country refusing to send a political contingent to the Winter Games — scheduled to begin in February — yet allowing its athletes to still participate.

"You have to think about the athletes and about all the years of training that they've put in," Saint-Jacques said. "At a minimum, in these circumstances, there should be no official delegation that goes to the opening ceremony in Beijing."

"I think it's important because every time that you capitulate and you say 'Well, it won't make any change,' China is very pleased with this because they say 'Our strategy is working and nobody dares to criticize us.'"

President Joe Biden, in a meeting with Trudeau earlier this week in Washington, said a diplomatic boycott was "something we are considering."

Trudeau would not say whether Canada would also consider a diplomatic boycott of the Games.

"We've been engaged with like-minded partners around the world over the past many months on this issue," he said.

"We continue to have those discussions and, as the Games approach, I'm sure there will be more information as to the exact posture Canada and indeed the world will take towards this issue."

A boycott requires a concerted effort, says Canadian lawyer and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound.

"You'd have to develop some kind of a consensus among the Europeans and North Americans and whatever it may be," he said. "And at a certain point, even the Chinese have to pay attention. But if it's just Canada or just the United States, they don't care."

Mehmet Tohti, executive director of Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, said that organization has called for a postponement and relocation of the Olympics.

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