UK foreign minister: Very unlikely I'll go to Beijing Winter Olympics

Britain's Foreign Secretary Raab walks outside Downing Street in London
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, May 27, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley/Files

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Thursday that it was unlikely he would go to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and said there were great sensitivities around the situation in Xinjiang.

The United States is consulting allies on a "shared approach" to the Winter Olympics in Beijing, amid criticism of China and calls for boycotts over human rights abuses.

When asked if he would attend, Raab told Sky: "I doubt it."

"I think it would be very unlikely that I would go," Raab said.

Raab said Britain did not want to overly politicise the Olympics and that sports participation were not decided by politicians in Britain.

"Of course, there are great sensitivities around Xinjiang and things like that. We'll decide our level of representation at a political-diplomatic level if you like in due course."

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers on Friday called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2022 Winter Olympics and relocate the event unless China ends what the United States deems an ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups. read more

Rights groups, researchers, former residents and some Western officials have said Xinjiang authorities have facilitated forced labour and other abuses by detaining about a million Uyghurs and other primarily Muslim minorities since 2016.

China denies wrongdoing, and has said it has established vocational training centers in Xinjiang to address religious extremism.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Kate Holton and Sarah Young

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