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Beijing Olympics Ready to Go but Controversies, Covid Weigh Heavy

Beijing Olympics Ready to Go but Controversies, Covid Weigh Heavy

Friday, 28 January, 2022 - 07:30
Beijing is the first city to host both a Winter and Summer Olympics. JADE GAO AFP

A Winter Olympics overshadowed by diplomatic boycotts and concerns about human rights, Covid and the safety of Peng Shuai begins next Friday in a vast "bubble" in the Chinese capital Beijing.

Warnings about air pollution, government snooping and the environmental impact of a Games which relies almost entirely on man-made snow add to the mix, AFP said.

Adopting the catchphrase "Together for a shared future" for the Games, China, its ruling Communist Party and the International Olympic Committee hope all those worries will be forgotten once the action gets going on February 4.

China has been keen to stress that Beijing will take its place in Olympic history, becoming the first city to host both a Summer and Winter Games, and saying the Games will be "safe and splendid".

If the 2008 Games were the country's coming-out party, the Winter Olympics will take place in a China under President Xi Jinping which is increasingly belligerent on the global stage and boasting the world's second-largest economy.

When Washington said it would stage a diplomatic boycott because of rights concerns -- with Australia, Britain and Canada among those following suit -- China warned that the United States would "pay the price".

On Thursday, foreign minister Wang Yi warned his US counterpart Antony Blinken during a phone call to "stop interfering" in the Olympics

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