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Now eyes are on the Beijing Winter Games

2021-08-09T21:17:39.476Z

After the Tokyo games are over, the focus is on the Winter Olympics to be held in China in 2022. Tokyo 2020: this is how the Olympic Games ended 1:32 Hong Kong (CNN) - Now that Tokyo's Olympic flame has gone out, all eyes are on Beijing for the 2022 Winter Games, which will begin in less than six months. The Games, scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20, are seen as a great moment of pride in China, where Beijing is poised to become the first city in the world to host the Summer and



Tokyo 2020: this is how the Olympic Games ended 1:32

Hong Kong (CNN) -

Now that Tokyo's Olympic flame has gone out, all eyes are on Beijing for the 2022 Winter Games, which will begin in less than six months.

The Games, scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20, are seen as a great moment of pride in China, where Beijing is poised to become the first city in the world to host the Summer and Winter Olympics.

But they are also shaping up to be the most controversial Olympics in recent years, as calls for a diplomatic boycott grow over Beijing's alleged human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the western Xinjiang region.

Furthermore, preparation for the event will take place in the context of a worsening pandemic and lingering questions about Beijing's alleged mishandling of the initial outbreak.

For China, holding the Olympics safely and successfully will be a key testament to its national strength and global position as the ruling Communist Party enters its second century amid what it sees as an increasingly international environment. " hostile".

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Tokyo 2020: this is how the Olympic Games ended 1:32

After successfully containing the spread of the virus, China is now dealing with its worst outbreak in more than a year.

The highly contagious delta variant extends to half of its provinces.

The last thing Chinese leaders will want to see is the Winter Olympics turning into a coronavirus super-spreading event.

The example of Tokyo 2020

Speaking to CNN, Jin Dongyan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, said the success of the Tokyo Olympics shows that with careful planning and strict security measures, holding an international sporting event during the pandemic is "entirely feasible. ".

The 2022 Winter Games will be divided into three main areas.

In the capital Beijing, in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou to the northwest, connected by high-speed rail.

Jin suggested that Beijing could draw on the expertise of Tokyo organizers and create a bubble around key Olympic sites to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

  • China confines thousands of people again for delta variant outbreak: worst since Wuhan

During the Olympics, Tokyo was in a state of emergency and reported thousands of cases every day.

But within the Olympic bubble, only a small number of people were infected, with some 400 Games-related cases recorded since July 1.

But while the Tokyo Games did its best to protect athletes from contracting COVID-19, Beijing likely wants to prevent the coronavirus from spreading outward, from the Olympic bubble to local communities.

Zero tolerance in China

For more than a year, China has pursued a tough "zero tolerance" strategy to swiftly end internal outbreaks.

It has also closed its borders to most foreigners.

The few who are allowed to enter must undergo two to three weeks of mandatory quarantine in a hotel.

Reopening the country's borders for the first time in two years, even with limited capacity, will pose a huge logistical challenge, especially in terms of accommodation for athletes.

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Jin, the expert from the University of Hong Kong, said the current lengthy quarantine requirement was untenable for the Olympics.

It is that few athletes would be willing to be trapped in a hotel room for three weeks before their events.

There is also the uncertainty of live audiences.

The Tokyo Games banned local and foreign spectators.

But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last month that the Beijing Games would need spectators to be successful.

"We need and we want to have spectators ... We want to have the opportunity for everyone to enjoy the hospitality and enjoy the great Chinese offerings," said Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., head of the IOC Coordination Commission.

Last week, an expert from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told the state-run Global Times that many of the Beijing Winter Games events will be held outdoors, allowing the national public to attend. , though it's unclear whether viewers will be subject to additional quarantine measures.

  • "I was a little nervous," said Quan Hongchan after winning gold for China in diving at age 14.

If Beijing allows domestic spectators, will they also be required to temporarily live inside the Olympic bubble?

And how could Beijing facilitate the isolation of tens of thousands of people, potentially for several weeks?

Expectation for the Winter Games

Despite the great uncertainty surrounding these questions, public anticipation for the Winter Games is already high in China.

During the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Games on Sunday, hashtags about the Beijing Olympics were among the hottest topics on Weibo, China's strictly censored version of Twitter, which attracted hundreds of millions of views.

"The stadiums are so luxurious and magnificent. I hope the pandemic is over soon so I can see the Games in person," read a comment.

"Covid-19 will turn like a flu in the future and we cannot close the country door forever. China has not hosted the Winter Olympics and this is a particularly precious opportunity to show our comprehensive national strength," it said other.

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Others, however, are concerned about the spread of covid-19 at the Games.

Also, due to the strict travel restrictions that are likely to be established.

"Have we forgotten how many of our compatriots died from covid-19? Why do we have to take the risk for the whole country? There will be all kinds of restrictions when entering Beijing ... How many working class people will? Have their lives been affected? "Wrote one user.

Restrictions remain high in China

Partly as a result of the "zero covid" strategy, China's public tolerance for infections remains extremely low.

In recent weeks, some prominent Chinese public health experts have called for a change in approach so that the country learns to cope with the coronavirus, following the path increasingly taken by other countries with relatively high vaccination rates.

However, on Sunday, China's former health minister published a comment in the party's newspaper, the People's Daily, attacking the idea of ​​"coexisting with the virus," potentially suggesting official resistance to the approach.

In the article, Gao Qiang, the former minister, accused the United States and the United Kingdom of "ignoring people's health and safety" and causing a resurgence of outbreaks by relaxing restrictions on COVID-19.

"This is a failure of epidemic prevention decision-making caused by flaws in the political systems of countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as an inevitable result of their promotion of individualistic values," Gao wrote.

ChinaCovid-19 olympic games

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-08-09

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