Beijing warming up for Winter Games

2021-02-04 12:03:24

SHI YU/CHINA DAILY Editor's Note: With one year to go before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, preparations for the Games have intensified. And with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging in many parts of the world and the global economy still struggling to recover, news of the Games is like a light at the end of the tunnel for many. What impact will the Beijing Winter Games have on people worldwide? Three experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Wang Kan. Excerpts follow: Looking forward to a green, inclusive and clean Games The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has accelerated the preparations for the grand event now that China has largely controlled the novel coronavirus pandemic. In his New Year's speech, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach appealed for solidarity in the spirit of the Olympic movement. Bach gave an encouraging message that, although the time is fraught with risks, the Olympic family has managed to turn the challenges into opportunities, while reaffirming that the preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games and the Beijing 2022 Winter Games have entered the final stage. As the world is on uncharted waters in the wake of the pandemic, there is fear that the Winter Games could be postponed, dealing another serious blow to the Olympic movement. But IOC member states look forward to the success of the Tokyo Summer and Beijing Winter Games. By following the Olympic principle and hosting a green, inclusive, open and clean Games, Beijing can set an ideal example for the international community. Yet given that the pandemic has not been controlled globally, the Beijing organizing committee should have a plan B-for example, to hold the Winter Games without spectators, if need be, and under strict epidemic prevention and control measures. And since advanced technology is becoming increasingly important to the Olympics, the organizing committee should make full use of it to control the spectators and successfully host the Winter Games, including by creating an enabling environment for athletes and coaches to train and compete. China to help make Tokyo, Beijing Games successful The postponed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics is scheduled to begin in less than six months-on July 23-although the uncertainty over the 2020 Games remains. China and the Chinese people are committed to the "Olympism". On Jan 25, President Xi Jinping discussed the preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics with IOC President Bach over the phone and reassured him that the Chinese side will work with the IOC to ensure the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics. China has virtually overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and is determined to take the "Olympism" forward. There is a need, however, to accord priority to the safety of athletes, coaches and officials at both the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Beijing Winter Olympics to ensure the events are incident free. The Chinese government has taken measures to encourage up to 300 million people to play ice and snow sports. Which has boosted the domestic demand for winter sports gear and equipment and increased the sales of sports goods manifold in China. And this has been possible because of efficient social governance, collaboration among different regions and a well-designed national fitness program. As such, the 2022 Winter Games is not only about a global sports gala but also about inspiring more and more people to take up sports in order to lead a healthy life, and about training officials to identify real, potential sports talents so they can shine on the global stage. Nations must carry forward the Olympic spirit of unity The Chinese government bears the responsibility of convincing the IOC member states about its ability to host a successful Winter Games and thus have a full lineup of world-class athletes for 2022. However, some Western politicians, claiming that China has violated human rights in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, have called for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Distorting facts, some Western politicians like former United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo have fabricated lies about Xinjiang. The socioeconomic development of Xinjiang and its residents demolishes those lies and exposes the Western politicians' ideological prejudice. The international community has acknowledged the Chinese government's commitment to carrying forward the Olympic spirit and safeguarding human rights. But still, the Chinese government should more forcefully tell the true story about Xinjiang to remove any misconceptions. Confronted with the unprecedented global public health crisis, the world should be primarily concerned about containing the virus, instead of engaging in a malicious war of words. Therefore, countries should abandon their ideological prejudice and work together to control the pandemic and take the Olympic spirit of unity forward. Zhong Bingshu, a professor at Capital University of Physical Education and Sports. Yi Jiandong, an expert in Olympic studies. Liu Huawen, executive director at the Institute of Human Rights, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.