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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

  • Morrison said "it is not surprising" that Australian officials wouldn't attend the Games, given that Beijing had not been receptive to their requests to meet and discuss human rights abuses and other issues.
  • As with the U.S., Australian athletes will still compete in Beijing.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that no U.K. ministers would attend the Games. Johnson added that he opposes "sporting boycotts" but later called the move "effectively a diplomatic boycott."

What they're saying: A Chinese government official told reporters that the U.S. would "pay the price" for the boycott and threatened retaliatory measures, per Reuters.

  • The Chinese Embassy in Australia issued a statement accusing Australia's government of "political posturing."

Worth noting: New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told reporters Tuesday that NZ officials also wouldn't attend the Beijing Games, citing "a range of factors but mostly to do with COVID."

  • "But we've made clear to China on numerous occasions our concerns about human rights issues," he added.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Boris Johnson and the Chinese government.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - World

HRW criticizes Biden over "mixed signals" on human rights

Photo: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Human Rights Watch criticized President Biden and other leaders of democratic nations for sending "mixed signals" on human rights in its annual World Report published on Thursday, saying they "are not meeting the challenges before them."

Why it matters: Though Biden pledged to put human rights at the center of his foreign policy, HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth wrote that weapon sales to repressive governments and public reticence on certain human rights violations place those promises in question.

Jan 15, 2022 - Sports

Australian appeals court to hear Novak Djokovic’s case on Sunday

Novak Djokovic plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Jan. 13 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Graham Denholm via Getty Images

An Australian appeals court will hear arguments in Novak Djokovic's visa cancellation case on Sunday.

Why it matters: The unvaccinated tennis player faces possible deportation from Australia after officials revoked his visa for a second time on Friday, citing public health interests. He is set to play his first match in the Australian Open on Sunday.

Updated 15 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.