UN biodiversity summit leaves China over COVID-19 policy

BEIJING (AP) — The United Nations Biodiversity Summit will be held in Canada instead of China, organizers announced Tuesday, the second major international event to be moved from China due to its strict anti-coronavirus policies.

China’s Ministry of Environment said the meeting will be held in December in Montreal, where the summit organizes secretariat. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the decision was made “in comprehensive consideration of the domestic and international epidemic situation”.

China quit last month as the host of the 2023 Asian Cup. It also postponed indefinitely the 2022 Asian Games, which had been scheduled to be held in Hangzhou in September.

The country has been adhering to a strict “zero-coronavirus” policy, restricting international tourists and locking down some or all of its cities on multiple occasions to stamp out outbreaks. This approach is increasingly at odds with other major countries easing restrictions and turning to coexistence with the disease.

The Biodiversity Summit is similar to the better known UN climate summit. Countries that have joined the Global Agreement for the Conservation of the World’s Species of Animals and Plants meet regularly to work towards the goals set out in the agreement.

The Ministry of Environment said that China will continue to serve as the chair of the summit, and the theme and logo will remain unchanged.

The Chinese capital, Beijing, hosted the Winter Olympics in February, creating a bubble that cut participants off from ordinary Chinese citizens.

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