Netherlands won't send diplomatic group to Beijing Olympics

A baking creation of the Olympic rings is on display during breakfast for guests of a hotel ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China January 8, 2022. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

THE HAGUE, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The Netherlands will not send an official diplomatic delegation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics because of COVID-19 restrictions, a foreign ministry spokesperson said Friday.

"Because of the COVID-19 measures in place in China there would only be limited opportunities for (...) bilateral contacts with the host country where the Netherlands' great concern about the human rights situation could be discussed in a meaningful way," Frits Kemperman told Reuters.

The Dutch decision comes amid a U.S.-led diplomatic boycott to protest against China's human rights record, joined by Australia, Britain, Canada and Japan. China denies rights abuses and has condemned the boycott as betraying Olympic principles.

Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg Editing by Hugh Lawson and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.