When the International Olympic Committee convened seven years ago to select the winner of the 2022 Winter Games, Chinese leader Xi Jinping sent a short video message that helped balance the immediate, controversial vote.
China had limited knowledge of winter sports. A little snow falls on the distant hills where outdoor events would take place. Pollution was sometimes so congested that it became known as the “Airpocalypse.”
Mr. Xi is committed to solving all of this, putting his reputation on what seemed to be a clever bid. “We will fulfill all the promises we have made,” he told Olympic delegates gathered in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
With just a few days left until the games are over, China has brought it. We have been hurt by the noise that once made Beijing’s request seem so long, and we have to deal with new ones, including a never-ending epidemic and growing international concern over its authoritative conduct.
As in 2008, when Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics, the games are a testament to the country’s success. Only now, it is a very different world.
China no longer needs to prove its status on a global scale; instead, it seeks to proclaim the full vision of a prosperous, more confident nation under Mr. Xi, the most powerful leader in the world since Mao Zedong. When the government once tried to confuse its critics to make the games a success, today it despises them.
Beijing 2022 “will not only boost our confidence in achieving a major national renaissance for the Chinese nation,” he said. Xi, who this year is ready to take third place. It will also “reflect the positive image of our country and reflect our nation’s commitment to building a society with a shared future of humanity.”
Mr Xi’s government has dismissed criticism of human rights activists and world leaders as biased against those – including President Biden – who will keep China down. He has strongly warned Olympic broadcasters and supporters not to bend in calling for protests or riots in Hong Kong or their campaign of oppression in Xinjiang, a Muslim-majority region in the northwest.
Dismissed I.O.C. in talks on anti-Covid health agreements and stricter safety measures were imposed than those of the Tokyo Summer Olympics last year. It has continued to sustain its “zero Covid” strategy, which came from China’s first shutdown, in Wuhan two years ago, regardless of the cost to its economy and its people.
Very few people today are wrong, unlike in 2008, that the right to host an event will govern the policies of the state government. China then sought to meet international standards. Now the world has to accept what is Chinese.
“They do not need this to legalize their law,” said Xu Guoqi, a historian at the University of Hong Kong and author of “Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008.” “And they do not need to please the whole world to make the event a great success.”
The I.O.C., like international and international companies, has relied so much on China and its major markets that few can, or dare, speak out against Mr. Xi took over the country.
Chinese critics, human and labor rights activists and others have blamed the committee for failing to pressure Mr Xi to change the country’s growing policies. However, that assumes that the committee has the power to act.
While Mr. Xi’s government is facing international turmoil after dropping allegations of sexual harassment of three-time Olympic tennis player Peng Shuai, the I.O.C. he did not speak. Instead, it helped to turn away concerns about his whereabouts and safety.
China’s hard work – many say ruthless – performance is what attracted the Olympic delegation after the incredible cost of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the chaos of preparations for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
As Mr. As promised, the toxic atmosphere that once plagued Beijing, in particular, if not completely, has allowed the blue sky. High-speed trains have reduced travel from Beijing to more remote areas from four hours to one.
In an area where water is scarce, China is building a pipeline network to accommodate a large number of glaciers to remove dust from white desert slopes. Officials this week even said all of the Games would be “completely neutral.”
Christophe Dubi, executive director of upcoming games, said in an interview with China it has proven to be a determined partner and able to do anything to cancel the event, no matter what the challenges.
“Organizing these games,” said Mr. Dubi, “it was easy.”
The committee has raised questions about human rights and other issues surrounding the games. Although the committee’s constitution calls for “the promotion and promotion of human rights,” officials have stated that it is not their place to judge the political system of the host country.
Instead, the most important thing for the committee is to cancel the games. By voting for Beijing, the committee has chosen a “safer option,” said Thomas Bach, committee president.
“We know that China will live up to its promises.”
Also Read: China’s fake snow hysteria for Beijing Olympics disrupts water supplies
When Snow Does Not Fall
Beijing’s quest to become the first city to host the Summer and Winter Olympics focused on when Lim Chee Wah, a Malaysian assistant engineer of casinos and golf courses, moved to prosperous Beijing in the 1990’s and sought a place to ski.
He drove the winding roads northwest of Beijing for five hours to a mountainous area full of cabbage and potato growers. The only snow retreat was a single wooden structure with a dining room, a few hotel rooms, and a small ski shop.
“I went out and said,‘ Where is the ice rink? ’They said,‘ Do you see this road going up? ’” He recalls in a conversation. A small Toyota Coaster car rides skis along the road to the top of the slope.
Mr. Lim, who had studied ice skating at the American resort Vail, Colo., Soon reached an agreement with local authorities to convert 24,700 hectares of barren hills into China’s largest ski resort.
In 2009 he met Gerhard Heiberg, representing Norway on the Olympic committee’s executive committee, who was overseeing the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer. Together, they began to imagine how the Games would be held in the hills near China’s Great Wall.
China had previously demanded the Winter Olympics, planning to host the 2010 Games in Harbin, Russia’s former capital of the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. The city could not even make a short list of the tournament that was won by Vancouver, British Columbia in 2003. Authorities at Harbin put together another bid after Beijing 2008, but dismissed the idea when it appeared they would fail again.
By then, the gloss of hosting the Winter Games was over. Vancouver was unjustly controlled by the tropical climate. Sochi 2014 – intended as a symbol of the rule of Vladimir V. Putin in Russia – is worth $ 51 billion.
The growing vigilance of planning a four-year event has given China an unexpected advantage. Beijing – no one’s opinion about the winter sports capital – could also use the 2008 Games sites, including the Bird’s Nest stadium at the opening ceremony. The Water Cube, which hosted swimming and diving events 14 years ago, was renamed the Ice Cube.
Figure skating and short-trackskating (which gave China its only gold medal at the 2018 Winter Games) will take place at the Capital Indoor Stadium, a “Ping-Pong consultation” between the United States and China. 1971 and the Olympics. volleyball in 2008.
China has pledged to spend only $ 1.5 billion on major projects in the region, with that much to cover operating costs, part of the cost of the 2018 Sochi or Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, worth about $ 13 billion. “If you don’t have financial pressure the way we do in some cases, it’s really different,” said Mr. Dubi of the Olympic committee.
Still, the Chinese bid seemed unlikely, especially as the 2018 Games were underway in Asia and officials were expecting the next keeper to be in Europe. Then another European city came out, leaving Beijing to compete only with Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, a former republic of the Soviet Union.
The final figure was 44 to 40 in Beijing, with one non-participant. Almaty supporters were outraged by an electronic voting system problem that led to a recount of hands to “protect the integrity of the vote.” Kazakhstan ‘
“I do not think it is a stretch and I do not cheat or oppose the Chinese – they probably would not have succeeded if some of these European cities were still in the race,” said Terrence Burns, a working marketing consultant. with the bid of Almaty and Beijing during the 2008 Games. “But you know what? They hang there, and you know, the winners find a way to win. ”
Underdog Responding to Olympic Power
With the application in hand, Mr. Xi has announced that China will be a wonderful country for winter sports, although very few in China swim in the snow. He vowed in a letter to the Olympic committee that the Games would “stir up the enthusiasm” of 300 million people.
There are now six mountain resorts near Chongli, a small town near Zhangjiakou, one of the two Olympic groups created in the mountains north of Beijing. They have aroused growing interest in skiing, with 2.8 million visitors in the winter of 2018 and 2019, according to Xinhua, compared to 480,000 over the past three years.
Mr. Lim selected by Chinese Olympic organizers for snowboarding and freestyle skiing events.
Adjacent to this is an iceberg, a structure erected to resemble the famous scepter of the Qing dynasty, complete with a 6,000-seat lower floor to host the post-Olympic soccer games.
Long-distance events, with steep slopes – the Alpine Race – will take place in a group of mountains near Yanqing, a region just north of the mighty Beijing. Creating seven lessons where it requires extensive explosion on chisel skis emerging from gray cliffs near the Great Wall.
At a time when climate change has raised concerns that many ski resorts could become too hot due to snow, the hills northwest of Beijing are not prone to winter temperatures. The thing that lacks place is water, thus, ice.
When Beijing applied, the inspection committee raised concerns that the events would take place in an area with dark brown slopes. “There will be no snow outside the racecourse, especially in Yanqing, which is contributing to the perception of snow,” the committee said in a statement.
China’s solution was to build pipelines and dams to provide equipment to cover studies on ice. (Almaty’s motto was a subtle dig in Beijing’s artificial ice plans: “Keep It Real.”)
Late last month, in the village of Chongli, where many athletes will live, machines were blowing day and night to beat snow not only on the run, but also in the woods and nearby stadiums to build Alpine veneer – at least for television cameras.
Workers have planted tens of thousands of trees, watered by a sophisticated irrigation system. Many stand in long, straight lines and look a bit like natural forests than large Christmas tree farms.
In the months leading up to the 2008 Olympics, Mr. Xi was appointed to oversee the final preparations. He recently joined the country’s highest political party, the Politburo Standing Committee. The role was to successfully test his leadership potential.
He has been particularly interested in the Games’ military preparations, which include the installation of 44 batteries blocking flights around Beijing, although the chances of a plane crash in the city seem far-fetched.
“The safe Olympics are a great symbol of the successful Beijing Olympic Games, and are a very important symbol of the international image of the world,” he said at the time.
The preparations for the Games show the management of Mr. Xi. He was at the center of every decision – from the planning of the Olympic Village in Chongli, to the variety of skis and ski suits. In line with growing national policies, he voiced the preference for Chinese ski equipment over foreign.
When Mr Xi visited areas in Chongli district in Zhangjiakou for the first time in January 2017, he instructed local authorities to ensure that they did not build too much – a common practice of Chinese officials using any international event. as an excuse for large projects.
He visited the Olympics five times to see how it fared, recently earlier this month, when he described the good governance of the Games as “China’s biggest commitment to the international community.”
The political decision that attracted the attention of Olympic officials has again become a challenge. Reluctantly but exhausted after hosting the Summer Games in Tokyo, top officials tried to convince Beijing organizers to stick with the same playbook in dealing with coronavirus. China’s insistence on continuing its “zero-COVID policy” creates “significant environmental tensions,” he said. Dubi.
The Olympic Committee finally complied with China’s requirements for a daily invasive screening program, requiring thousands of people inside the bubble to provide daily throat surgery.
When Peng Shuai’s allegations of sexual harassment rocked the sports field last fall, the committee found itself caught red-handed.
The suspect, Zhang Gaoli, oversees China’s preparations for the 2022 Games for three years until retiring in 2018. Chinese authorities dismissed her allegations online and tried to discredit her in the media – but saw concern for her. The double conclusion calls for boycotting Games or its sponsors.
Locked up in their offices in Lausanne, Switzerland, the authorities could do nothing but issue a statement suggesting that “peace talks” were the right course.
Officials with other national Olympic committees were outraged. Without the international committee’s defense cover, they fear retaliation if they speak in private.
The 2008 Olympics also faced severe criticism. The campaign led by actress Mia Farrow has called the event “genocide games” because of China’s support for Sudan despite its brutal attack on the Darfur region. Traditional torch transfers have been hit by protests in cities on many continents, including Paris, London, San Francisco and Seoul.
The charges against China today are, no doubt, very serious. The United States and other countries have declared China’s offensive against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang a genocide. Ms. Farrow’s stinging sobriquet reappeared in 2022, via a Twitter hashtag.
“China’s intense pressure on Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong has all happened since 2015,” the year Olympic delegates awarded Beijing the Games, said Minky Worden, who followed China’s participation in the Olympics. Human Rights Watch for more than two decades.
“The I.O.C. it would be fair to say that these issues need to be addressed, ”he said. “They didn’t.”
There have been skeptical comments about the Beijing election – “All the political issues that drive the agenda today were not on the radar seven years ago,” said Michael Payne, former Olympic marketing director – but the games will continue.
Because of the coronavirus, foreign viewers, even ordinary Chinese, are barred from attending the Games. Instead, China will allow only tested viewers to choose from. In particular it will be played by Chinese and foreign television viewers, giving a planned world view, which Mr. Xi has it itself.
If the coronavirus is not kept under control, Beijing could face the Olympics with fewer problems than it seemed when it won the Games rights seven years ago. Mr Xi’s government has already declared it successful. Twelve other Chinese cities are already looking forward to the 2036 Summer Olympics.
“The world is looking forward to China,” Mr Xi said in a New Year’s speech, “and China is ready.”
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