At 10-day countdown of the Winter Olympics, Beijing has gained wide intl support and made full preparations of venues; city all teed up for event
Published: Jan 26, 2022 12:45 AM
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visits the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing, capital of China, on January 4, 2022. Xi inspected the preparations for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing on January 4, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visits the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing, capital of China, on January 4, 2022. Xi inspected the preparations for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing on January 4, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Members of China's delegation for the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 gather at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to watch the flag raising ceremony on the morning of January 25, 2022. Photo: cnsphoto

Members of the China delegation for the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 gather at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to watch the flag raising ceremony on the morning of January 25, 2022. Photo: cnsphoto


On the 10-day countdown to the much-expected Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that after six years of preparations, China is all set to deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games when he met with Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on Tuesday. 

When the world's attention is now fixed on the Winter Olympics that marks the first major international sporting event to be held on schedule after the pandemic started two years ago, Beijing has also gained wide support from the international community, including Russia, South Korea and even Lithuania. Observers said the successful hosting of the event not only marks a successful feast of sports, but also demonstrates to the world China's commitment and effort to fix the cracks of international community, and bring together the world to build a shared future. 

Moreover, they said the support from the international community serves as solid evidence that faced with a gala that promotes solidarity and solves disparities, tricks to politicize the Olympics are petty and futile. 

Meeting Bach at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Tuesday, Xi pointed out that after more than six years of preparations and now with everything falling into place, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will be held on schedule as promised. 

China will honor its commitment to present to the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games. This is the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that a comprehensive global sporting event is held as scheduled. It is a successful example of acting upon the new Olympic motto: "Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together," Xi said. 

China will make new and bigger contributions to the Olympic Movement and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. "I look forward to witnessing the important moment of the Games' opening with you, President Bach," said Xi.

Bach began by wishing the Chinese people a happy Spring Festival and best of luck in the Year of the Tiger in Chinese. He commended the joint efforts by Chinese authorities and the Chinese people which ensured excellent and smooth preparations for the Games, saying that he was impressed by the outstanding venues, thorough COVID-19 countermeasures and advanced concept of sustainability. He also applauded China's efficiency, determination and dynamism, the Xinhua reported. 

Zhang Yiwu, a professor of cultural studies at Peking University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the remarks made by Xi and Bach during their meeting demonstrate not only China's full confidence in successfully hosting the event, but also the fact that preparations for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games have been successful, and  have been highly recognized and supported by the IOC.

International support
With the Beijing Winter Olympics less than two weeks away, Russia, South Korea, Cambodia, and others have showed support for the event by sending delegations and distinguished representatives to the Olympics. Even Lithuania, whose diplomatic ties with China have severely damaged since last year due to its provocations on the Taiwan questions, sent a pretty big delegation to Beijing.

Speaking at a Tuesday press conference, Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov said that Russia plans to send a 500-strong delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympics, including athletes, coaches, medical workers and service support staff, the biggest foreign delegation coming to the event.

The Russian ambassador said that the Beijing Winter Olympics is a highly expected event and that he fully believes China can host the event with high quality, and overcome all difficulties posed by COVID-19.

When asked about some countries not sending officials and government representatives to the event, the ambassador said that every time a country hosts a large-scale event, there are certain groups of people who want to sabotage the event for narrow political interests.

Denisov said that recently he has often been asked what country he supports. "As a Russian, I of course support Russian athletes. But as a Beijing resident, I also support the Chinese team. Thus, both of the teams will have my support during the Winter Olympics." 

Leaders of five Central Asian countries - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - said they look forward to attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Games at the first heads of state meeting between China and the Central Asian countries on Tuesday.   

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed on Tuesday that Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. The Cambodian king is an old friend of the Chinese people and China welcomes him to witness the historic moment when Beijing becomes the first city to host two Olympics. 

South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug will also visit China next month and attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Yonhap quoted the South Korean National Assembly as saying on Tuesday.

Zhao Lijian said at the Tuesday conference that China welcomes Park's visit, and that South Korea's active support for the Winter Olympics is in accordance with the Olympic spirit and is the embodiment of China-South Korea friendship. 

Yonhap also reported that South Korea announced Tuesday it will have 63 athletes competing in six sports during the Winter Olympics.

The Lithuanian National Olympic Committee (LTOK) announced on its official website on Monday that Lithuania will send its largest delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The team is composed of 13 athletes, including five biathletes, two downhill skiers, four skiers and a couple of figure skaters. 

The relationship between China and Lithuania soured after the tiny Baltic state allowed the island of Taiwan to open a representative office in the name of Taiwan in Lithuania, which China called a blatant violation of the one-China principle and international rules. China later downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of chargé d'affaires.

The support from the international community, both from friendly countries such as Russia, or Lithuania, which is having rough ties with China, shows that the Olympic Games is an opportunity to promote unity and solve disparities, said Zhang, noting that in face of such events, the conspiracy of some forces to politicize the Games proves to be petty and futile. 

Safe closed-loop

As Beijing enters its final 10-day sprint, 100 Chinese athletes and coaches representing the Team China observed the national flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square on Tuesday morning.  Chinese skater/world record holder Wu Dajing led them in taking an oath. After that they will enter the closed loop for the final preparations for the event they have been waiting for since 2018. 

All three competition zones located in Beijing proper, its suburban Yanqing district and neighboring Zhangjiakou in North China's Hebei Province have displayed their overall readiness. 

One of the three competition zones of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics announced on Tuesday that all preparations for the great event, including transportation, food supply and epidemic prevention, have been finished in Yanqing district, which has been carrying out double closed-loop management.

The Yanqing competition zone, where 51 Olympic and Paralympic events including alpine skiing, snowmobile and sledding will be held, has built the most new venues for the Winter Olympics among the three zones. 

A team of more than 1,500 people in Yanqing are ready to provide all kinds of services to athletes, staff and spectators, Zhang Wenjing, a senior official of the Yanqing zone, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Yanqing district has been under a management mode of "double closed loops" since Sunday, referring to managing the inner closed loop and the outer closed loop at the same time.

Zhang said that guidance signs were set up in regions within the closed loops for alerts and for residents, and police and security guards are all been involved in management and surveillance, inspecting routinely at fixed times. Seminars promoting epidemic prevention have been organized regularly to keep people informed.

Outside the closed loop, the district government organized teams to guarantee the needs of residents, which consists of residential committees, the neighborhood, volunteers and security guards. The teams can go deep into ordinary life and report problems as soon as possible.

The district has connected the inner loop with the outer loops via channels such as mobile apps and WeChat to share information instantly.

All 120 medical workers for epidemic prevention have been put in place, and so are the necessary equipment, medicines and consumables for the 30 medical stations.

The district has set up four isolation points, which are staffed by 42 medical workers and have 162 rooms, and 66 nucleic acid samples collecting points were also prepared. The number of personnel working on collecting samples increased from 22 to 252.

After the start of the closed-loop management, the medical emergency transfer work at Olympics-related points in Yanqing has been uniformly dispatched by the Beijing emergency center. The number of active ambulance teams increased from two to eight.

Food safety is another big issue during the preparations. The Beijing market supervision department dispatched three food safety supervisors to enter the distribution center for supervision. At the same time, nine food delivery vehicles have been equipped, and they have obtained access rights to the Olympic lanes to ensure that food can arrive quickly and safely.

Shen Yumin, the deputy head of commerce bureau of Yanqing District in Beijing, told the Global Times that the staff working on food supply in the closed loop, including chefs, need to take nucleic tests every day under the guidance of medical workers. 

The teams have already served more than 18,000 people as of Monday. The menu includes dozens of dishes and different ethnic groups and religions have been taken into considerations, the deputy head said.