China has hit out at Australia’s decision not to send officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics and has said no one cares but it is a “halfway solution” to the problem, according to Perth USAsia Centre CEO Gordon Flake.
Mr Flake said the boycott is “very significant” as, although China may say it does not care if diplomats attend, it clearly does.
“China has said ‘we don’t care’ quite repeatedly, they continue to say it, they will likely have to say it a lot more in the coming days,” he told Sky News Australia.
Mr Flake said it is not just big countries like the US and Australia which may boycott but smaller ones like Lithuania which has been “on the receiving end” of China’s economic coercion.
“It’s a tough choice, you don’t want to deprive your athletes of the opportunity to compete but at the same time you can’t ignore the horrendous acceleration of human rights abuses in places like Xinjiang,” he said.
“This is kind of a halfway solution at least for the interim and it puts China in a tough spot because if they respond too vigorously to the diplomatic boycott there’s a risk that they could spark an even more robust response”.