Sichuan and Chongqing rivalry gets spicier after confused Olympic bid
Published: Nov 28, 2020 01:14 PM

Photo: VCG

The competitive rift between independently governed Chongqing Municipality and its former province, Sichuan in SW China -- both of which claim the title “spiciest food in China” – has again heated after Chongqing said it was unaware Sichuan was planning a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympics.

“This is a unilateral announcement by Sichuan Province. I only read about it on the internet this afternoon,” an employee with the Chongqing sports authority told the Red Star News on Friday.

A staff member of Sichuan’s sports bureau said on Friday that the “sports departments of Sichuan and Chongqing are planning to jointly bid for the 2032 Olympic Games,” according to media reports.  

The 14th five-year plan for development of Sichuan’s capital, Chengdu, says the city will actively seek hosting the Olympic Games and other large-scale sporting events. The plan apparently assumed Chongqing would also be involved.

The rift between Chongqing and Sichuan went viral on Sina Weibo with nearly 50 million views and 2,200 discussions a few hours after the Red Star report. 

“What a slap in the face,” said an internet user who said he can’t wait for the story to unfold.

Chongqing, a mega city of more than 30 million people, was part of Sichuan Province until the central government established it as a “municipality” in 1997, giving it provincial-level authority.

Although the city and the province share a similar culture that includes an obsession with mahjong and a crazy love for spicy food, they also quarrel over the specific rules of mahjong, or who owns the title of China’s spiciest hotpot.

“In recent years, Sichuan and Chongqing have successfully held a number of major international and domestic sporting events.

Chengdu is committed to becoming a ‘world-known sports city’ and has successfully bid for the 2021 Summer Universidad, the 2022 World Table Tennis Team Championship and the 2023 Asian Cup Football Match,” Zhao Jun, the spokesperson of Sichuan provincial sports bureau, said in an interview with Xinhua.

The national strategy creating a Chengdu-Chongqing economic zone has brought great development opportunities for us, and cooperation in various fields has been carried out rapidly, ns sports is no exception, Zhao continues. 

“The joint bid for the Olympic Games is also part of the work plan and long-term goal, and we are actively planning with Chongqing,” Zhao said.

Chongqing’s sports bureau said they are still verifying information with their Sichuan counterparts.

Global Times