Foreign reporters amazed by China’s efforts in holding Games amid pandemic, thoughtful arrangements for their work
Published: Feb 07, 2022 08:46 PM
A canteen robot serves food at the Olympic Village on January 29, 2022 Photo: VCG

A canteen robot serves food at the Olympic Village on January 29, 2022 Photo: VCG

Foreign journalists covering the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics were not only amazed by China's development in high technology and in winter sports, but also deeply felt China's friendliness and thoughtful arrangements for journalists, as well as its efforts to ensure safe international sports events amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some reporters interviewed by the Global Times on Monday also called on some Western media to focus on sports rather than unprofessionally politicizing the Games and smearing China, saying they should accept China's development, which is beneficial to the world. 

Emre Aytekin, a journalist with Turkey's Anadolu Agency, was thrilled to have an opportunity to meet and talk to his youth hero - former NBA star Yao Ming - when reporting the torch relay on February 2.

"Yao Ming was a hero of my youth, because I played basketball. So I was very excited to meet him and ask him questions, and that was a highlight for me," Aytekin recalled his encounter with Yao, saying Yao gave him great answers. 

Yao was among the first people to carry the flame as the Olympic Torch Relay began on February 2, and he was also a torchbearer ahead of the Beijing Summer Games in 2008.

Unlike some media hype that journalists were being harassed during reporting the Winter Olympics or they had to bring burner phones out of surveillance concerns, Aytekin said that he was treated well in reporting, had chances to talk to interviewees, and the organizers were very hospitable. Aytekin did not witness any check or surveillance of his phone in reporting. 

Muhammad Asghar, a Pakistani journalist based in Beijing, was amazed by the grand opening ceremony, but was more touched by China's efforts to hold the Games amid the pandemic, which he said was "not an easy thing." 

Asghar recalled the efficient and thoughtful arrangements that the Chinese government provided for some foreign journalists attending the ceremony on February 4. 

From boarding buses and going through security checks, being provided with food, blankets and gloves, to receiving friendly guidance and warm welcomes from young volunteers, "there were not any problems and everything was smooth," he said.  "There were previously many rumors spread about possible problems at the Games, but China is successfully holding the games in a very proper manner."

Apart from meeting his idol, reporting on the Beijing Games has enabled Aytekin to see the sportsmanship, energy and friendliness of China. He said he can feel China is a "people-friendly nation" through his work. 

When reporting the torch relay at the Badaling section of the Great Wall on February 3, Aytekin interviewed torchbearer Yang Qian who was the winner of Team China's first gold medal at Tokyo 2020 at 21 years old. 

"Yang was an Olympic champion at such a young age and when I talked to her, I found she was such a humble, honest and sweet young person. She did not only talk to journalists but to everyone - the frontline workers and firemen," he said, noting that he could see the spirit of friendliness from her. 

Asghar said he visited China's Winter Olympics venues in Zhangjiakou two years ago and China has experienced big changes in developing winter sports over the years, which Pakistan should learn from. 

He hopes the Games will provide a good opportunity for Pakistan to cooperate with China in developing winter sports facilities and other related sectors. 

When the world is focusing on the Games, some Western media manipulated human rights issue and hyped the "diplomatic boycott" by some countries, which was neither fair nor professional, Asghar said. 

He said what they should do is focus on the sports competition and acknowledge China's development.  

"China has made wonderful achievements, such as in poverty alleviation, which the world is benefiting from, and China is sharing with other countries its achievements through the Belt and Road initiative," Asghar said.