Beijing Olympics 2022

Written by  //  February 25, 2022  //  China, Olympics  //  Comments Off on Beijing Olympics 2022

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The Olympics provide a party, all it wants in return is your money and fealty. At least the IOC will always have Paris
We have grown so attached to the ‘Whither the IOC?’ storyline that we can no longer let it go, even when it’s stopped being true.
How does the Olympic movement handle (start ticking off fingers and then move on to a neighbour) doping, human rights, mental health, child athletes, dark money, transgender participation, sports washing, influence peddling, commercialism and climate change?
What is the Olympic movement hiding? When is this house of cards coming down?
Mapping the paths that lead to Olympic collapse isn’t a reality check any more. It is wish fulfilment. It is people who have limited interest in a moral reckoning continuing to pretend one is coming so they can defer dealing with a moral reckoning.
The IOC may have been in trouble circa 2016. That was the point of lowest ebb in its latest phase of decline.
It had rammed through the Vladimir Putin Memorial Games in Sochi in 2014. Coming off institutional highlights in Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012, it didn’t have the sense to hold an unsavoury host at arm’s length. Recall Canadian Olympic Committee boss and International Olympic Committee bagman Marcel Aubut gushing over Putin when the Russian President rolled through Canada House: “Great Games. Probably the best ever.”
It turned out the Russians were best at something – cheating. In light of recent events, that mistake looks like complicity in something much darker than switching out vials of urine.

21 February
Beijing closes curtain on ‘closed loop’ Games (article with video)
(Reuters) – Beijing doused its Olympic flame on Sunday night, closing a Games that will be remembered for the extremes of its anti-COVID-19 measures and outrage over the doping scandal that enveloped 15-year-old Russian skating sensation Kamila Valieva.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was on hand for the snowflake-themed ceremony at the Bird’s Nest stadium, where International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach described the Beijing Games as “truly exceptional” before declaring them closed.
The Beijing Games, contained inside a “closed loop”, were the second Olympics in six months to be deprived by COVID-19 of much of its festivity.
They were also stalked by politics, with several countries staging a diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record, and the spectre of invasion of Ukraine by Russia, with President Vladimir Putin attending the opening ceremony in a show of solidarity against the West with Xi.
With the closing ceremony, China celebrates a joyless triumph
All along, Chinese officials insisted that the Olympics were not about politics, but rather sports. In the end, controversy and scandal haunted those, too.
For all of China’s efforts to carry on the Winter Games with a festive spirit, Beijing 2022 unfolded as a joyless spectacle: constricted by a global health disaster, fraught with geopolitical tensions, tainted once again by accusations of doping and overshadowed by the crisis in Ukraine.
As athletes marched into the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing on Sunday night to close the most contentious Olympics in years, China could celebrate pulling off the Games on schedule, despite everything. It is a success, however, as measured by the low bar of avoiding total disaster.
Closing Ceremony Highlights: Beijing Ends a Games Marked by Triumph, Heartbreak and Scandal
The Winter Games finished with an elaborate closing ceremony and a final flicker of the Olympic flame.
The closing ceremony in the Chinese capital was, as Olympic events ordinarily are, a display of theater, music and cultural traditions that did not dwell on, or even acknowledge, troubles surrounding the Games, including pre-Olympic concerns about China’s human rights record and a doping dispute that had some questioning the fairness of competition in figure skating, one of the most popular events of the Games.
Plans are already underway for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy, with the ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo and Milan, the country’s economic and fashion capital, serving as host locations.
The Games will run from Feb. 6, 2026 to Feb. 22. Events will be held across the northern part of the country — Milan, Cortina, Verona, Val di Fiemme, Valtellina and Anterselva. Cortina, which hosted the Winter Games in 1956, will welcome Olympians for a second time.
There are 16 sports on the program in Italy, including the Olympic debut of ski mountaineering.
Kamila Valieva horror show proves the price of Olympic gold is too high
Cath Bishop
This is not a problem happening just in Russia – a win-at-all-costs mentality is affecting young athletes more than ever
(The Guardian) What price an Olympic gold medal these days? We know about the blood, sweat and tears, but the costs paid by the 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva in pursuit of the glittering prize rose exorbitantly over the past week in Beijing. The already unstable Olympic currency of values, integrity and humanity devalued further.
It’s Norway’s Games Again. What’s Its Secret?
Norway won its record 15th gold medal on Friday, the kind of success that has drawn experts from other countries trying figure out how the tiny nation keeps doing it.
Norway is now so successful it has become the winter sports beacon. American skiers, both Alpine and cross-country, have trained with Norwegian athletes on the same mountains and glaciers for years. Every year, the country brings 150 of the top international junior cross country skiers to a camp to learn technique and train with the sport’s top coaches. Norway has had a partnership with Britain to develop and share wax technology for Nordic skiing.

Beijing Olympics controversies: Recapping two of the most dramatic weeks in sports history
(Yahoo! Sports) Sure, it was largely expected that the 2022 Beijing Olympics would come with controversy. Latent political disputes in Russia and outrage over China’s record of human-rights abuse — which caused several diplomatic boycotts, including from Canada and the USA — eclipsed the field of play before the Games even started. COVID-19 and the lack of NHLers didn’t help make it any more serene, either.
But no one could have anticipated the amount of drama that unfolded over the past two weeks.
Questionable reviews, doping scandals and stripped medals dominated the conversation in every corner of the Games.
Scott Stinson: The Olympics were strange. May there never be another Games like it
If an Olympic bus is involved in an accident, it is to be left untouched by normal emergency services until responders from within the Closed Loop arrive
One of the most memorable venues of these Games is Shougang Park, home to the Big Air events in freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Anyone who saw photos or highlights of those competitions will know the images: athletes soaring through the sky, sometimes 30 feet above the snow, with cooling towers from a former steel mill providing a striking backdrop. It is undeniably cool, even if it requires photographers to stand on a hill in the cold a long way from the designated photo positions to get the right angle for those shots.
But what is even more striking, and can only be seen up close, is the rest of the facility. The former steel factory is enormous, with a footprint the size of a small town. It is now a mix of modern buildings set amid a jumble of factory leftovers: huge towers, imposing facades with a sci-fi vibe, derelict silos, elevators and pulley systems. One minute you are in downtown Beijing, the next you have been driven on to the set of a zombie movie. At some point, organizers said, “Hey, what if we put the giant Big Air ramp in the middle of all that?” And so they did. It’s fancy, too. Where these things are often built on scaffolding and have temporary elevators, which Canadian snowboard medallist Max Parrot called properly “sketchy,” this one is permanent, with a real elevator for the smooth ride to the top. It seems like an exceedingly weird thing to leave in the middle of a city that rarely gets snow, but the images sure were neat.
Canada wins 26th Olympic medal as Beijing Games end with closing ceremony
[Justin] Kripps piloted his crew to a bronze medal in four-man bobsled on the final day at the Beijing Games – Canada’s last medal of the Olympics.
Those 26 medals – four gold, eight silver and 14 bronze – put Canada fourth in the total medal table behind Norway (37), Russia (32) and Germany (27). The Canadians finished ahead of the United States (24).
Canada’s four gold was its lowest total of top-podium finishes since Lillehammer 1994.
“Let’s not gloss over how difficult these last two years were for Team Canada, that in my estimation had to endure the most restrictive COVID protocols of any nation,” said David Shoemaker, the Canadian Olympic Committee’s chief executive officer.

20 February
China Provided Abundant Snow for the Winter Olympics, but at What Cost to the Environment?
The dense artificial snow that blanketed the competition zones for the games is likely to affect water, soil, animals and plants in the mountainous regions, scientists say.
(Inside Climate news) The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games outlined their efforts to preserve topsoil, protect vegetation and minimize disruption to animal habitats in the Beijing Pre-Games Sustainability Report. But experts in hydrology and soil have expressed concern about whether the proposed preservation and restoration efforts will be enough to prevent harm to soil, plants and animals.

17-18 February
Valieva case boosts drive to raise age limit at Olympics
(AP) — The doping case involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has led to many more questions than answers.
Some skaters think it’s time to ask another: Should a 15-year-old be in the Olympics at all?
Reformers argue a change would protect the wellbeing of child athletes and reduce the risk of injuries from straining the body into ever-more spectacular jumps.
Kamila Valieva’s falls leave her in 4th place
Anna Shcherbakova won a stunning gold medal in women’s figure skating at the Beijing Games on Thursday night … [she] performed a near-flawless free skate. … Russian teammate Alexandra Trusova won silver with her quad-packed program while Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto held onto the bronze medal.
‘I hate this sport’: Tears, anger accompany medals for Russian figure skaters
Trio of Valieva, Shcherbakova, Trusova faces uncertain future
The gold medallist said she felt empty. The silver medallist pledged never to skate again. The favourite left in tears without saying a word.
After one of the most dramatic nights in their sport’s history, Russia’s trio of teenage figure skating stars each enter an uncertain future.
Her Olympics and life turned upside down by a doping case, world record holder Kamila Valieva faces a possible ban and a coach whose first response to her disastrous skate Thursday was criticism.

Beijing Olympics get political with Taiwan, Uyghur questions
(AP) — For two weeks and more, China’s stance on questions about its politics and policies has been straightforward: It’s the Olympics, and we’re not talking about these things.
That changed Thursday at the Beijing organizing committee’s last regularly scheduled daily news conference, three days before the end of the Games. The persistent and polite refusal to answer such questions gave way to the usual state of affairs at news conferences with Chinese officials — emphatic, calibrated answers about the country’s most sensitive situations.
Taiwan? An indivisible part of China. The Uyghur population of the Xinjiang region? Not being pushed into forced labor. China’s sovereignty? Completely unassailable under international norms.

Canada beats rival U.S. to reclaim Olympic women’s hockey supremacy
Captain Marie-Philip Poulin scores twice as Canadians win 1st gold medal since 2014
Canada waited four long years for Olympic women’s hockey redemption. Canada suffered a shocking shootout loss to the U.S. in the 2018 final, ending a run of four consecutive gold medals and sending the Canadians home without gold for the first time since 1998.
In 2019, it failed to even reach the final of the world championship. That’s when the countdown began — literally.
General manager Gina Kingsbury gave each team member a clock displaying the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the 2022 Olympics.

We Are All Realists Now
The NBA has Enes Kanter Freedom where it wants him—out of sight, out of mind, like the Uyghurs themselves.
By George Packer
(The Atlantic) Amid the fanfare and glittery medals at this year’s Olympic Games, a human-rights crisis remains tucked out of sight: China’s brutal repression of the Uyghurs. The United States sent athletes to compete in Beijing, but declared a diplomatic boycott in protest of China’s continued persecution of its Uyghur Muslim minority and other human-rights abuses. A handful of other countries followed suit, but far more—including many that are majority Muslim—have remained silent.
As my colleague George Packer put it, “The whole world has sent its athletes to celebrate a festival of youth and peace in the global capital of totalitarianism.” And we’re tuning in anyway.

15 February
The Moscow Times report that Russian Skater Valieva Says Mix-Up with Grandfather’s Heart Drug Behind Positive Doping Test is met with considerable skepticism, along with an outcry over the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that she can skate, but won’t be allowed to win a medal. American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson questions why the difference in severity of the IOC decision in her case – “The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady” The controversy will continue.
Decision to let Kamila Valieva continue competing in Beijing is yet another doping joke in a long-running farce
Between their resources and their lack of shame, I didn’t think there was much the IOC could not accomplish. But even I didn’t believe it could find a way to turn Russia into the Olympic victim. It’s taken eight years, and the IOC has finally managed it. Even CAS feels bad for it.

12 February
China orders athlete to delete photos that showed flooding in Olympic Village
A Finnish skier claims she was ordered by Chinese officials to delete photos she shared on social media showing water flooding the athlete’s village and flowing out of light fixtures at the Winter Olympics.
Katri Lylynpera posted a number of photos and videos last week showing water pouring down from the ceiling at her lodging and creating puddles on the floor.
Exposed electrical equipment can also be seen in a number of the photos.

9-10 February
What is Trimetazidine, the drug reportedly behind an Olympic figure skating doping case?
The first big doping case at the Beijing Olympics involves one of its biggest stars. And it seems far from straightforward, not least because she is just 15 years old and has protections as a minor in the anti-doping rule book.
The medication trimetazidine is a metabolic agent that helps prevent angina attacks and treats the symptoms of vertigo, according to the European Union’s medicines agency. It can increase blood flow efficiency and improve endurance — both crucial to any high-end athletic performance.
It is on the prohibited list managed by the World Anti-Doping Agency in the category of “hormone and metabolic modulators.”
Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tests positive for banned heart medication: reports
Olympic favourite Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication before her arrival at the Beijing Olympics, the Russian newspaper RBC reported, putting in jeopardy the team gold medal that she helped win earlier this week.

Journalist who interviewed Peng Shuai casts doubt over her freedom
L’Equipe reporter Marc Ventouillac, who spoke to Peng this week, says it is ‘impossible to say’ if the Chinese tennis star is safe
One of the journalists who conducted the first sit-down interview with Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai said that the carefully controlled conversation did not answer questions about whether she can speak her mind or move freely.
A Chinese Olympic official was in the room and translated the conversation with Peng, who disappeared from public view for weeks last year after she made public allegations that a former top-ranked Communist party official pressured her into having sex.

8 February
Ian Bremmer Olympic dispatch: Business as usual despite pandemic, geopolitical risks
While things could still go south, the Games seem to be turning out quite nicely for China.
On the sporting front, China is beating the US handily, ranking 3rd in gold medals (3) and 8th in total medals (5) to America’s 17th (0) and 8th (5), respectively, despite not having a history or culture of winter sports. Adding insult to injury, one of China’s golds was won by San Francisco native Eileen Gu, the Chinese-American freestyle skier who renounced her US citizenship in order to compete for China.
And on the pandemic front, China has thus far been effective at containing infections within the Olympic “bubble.” Sporting events have been only minimally disrupted. Authorities also seem to be succeeding at keeping said bubble tightly sealed and quarantined from the general population, key to ensuring the sustainability of the country’s zero-Covid policy should an outbreak pop up.
[The boycott] has neither changed Beijing’s repressive policies, affected the course of the Games, nor driven much of the conversation since the events started. NBC is still broadcasting the events and hewing to a mostly apolitical editorial line. Corporate sponsors have remained largely silent and are still flying their banners over the event venues. And even the few athletes who have condemned China’s abuses are still competing.
… The fact that the opening ceremony cynically featured an ethnic Uyghur as torchbearer signals just how confident Xi is in China’s Teflon—and how limited the impact of the US boycott was.

7 February
Beijing’s big air jumps at the 2022 Winter Olympics look like a dystopian hellscape
The big air ramps inside a former Beijing steel mill have created a surreal backdrop at the Winter Olympics.
Beijing built a permanent big air park in the middle of a former steel mill on the west side of the city. The big air jump sticks out like a sore thumb against an otherwise snowless urban setting. While Twitter is getting off jokes about the park looking like it’s wedged inside a nuclear power plant, those cooling towers are now the most distinct part of the repurposed park. The long-term plan is to turn one of those towers into a wedding venue, according to the AP.

The World Is Sliding Toward Authoritarianism. So Are the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee’s unwillingness to call out Chinese human-rights abuses is just the latest example of its disturbing anti-democratic turn.
(Politico Opinion) For decades, the Games have been a venue for progressive activism, both against the political practices of the host country and against the IOC. The IOC has long been critiqued as a cabal of elites who have failed to address the cost overruns, environmental damage, forced eviction and police militarization that frequently accompany the Olympics. Instead of responding to the calls for reform, the IOC has in recent years become less responsive, less democratic and more opaque — making more decisions behind closed doors, closing ranks around an unusually powerful leader, fending off allegations that its members engaged in bribery and corruption, and — most recently — turning a blind eye to political repression. Indeed, the committee has started to resemble the authoritarian governments it’s unwilling to criticize

5 February
Dutch reporter on-air incident was isolated case, says IOC
(Reuters) – An incident involving a Dutch reporter in the middle of a live broadcast who was dragged away by Chinese security officials was an isolated event and will not affect foreign media’s reporting at the Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Saturday.
The journalist, Sjoerd den Daas, was delivering his live report to public broadcaster NOS on Friday evening during the Games opening ceremony in the Chinese capital when security officials surrounded him and one forcefully dragged him away.

4 February
In a Divisive Games, an Opening Ceremony in Search of Unity
There was the usual pageantry and symbols of togetherness, at a Games walled off from its host city because of the pandemic.
In a provocative choice, China picks an athlete with a Uyghur name to help light the cauldron.
In a climactic moment to end the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, China chose two athletes — including one it said was of Uyghur heritage — to deliver the flame to the Olympic cauldron and officially start the Games.
The moment was tinged with layers of symbolism — a man and a woman working together, a nod to China’s Olympic history — but it was the choice of Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a cross-country skier who the Chinese said has Uyghur roots, that confronted head-on one of the biggest criticisms of the country’s role as host.

Ian Bremmer: Is hosting the Olympics worth it for China?
The Winter Games could end up being a raw deal for Beijing.
These Olympics are supposed to showcase the country’s achievements under Xi’s leadership, but amid a still-raging global pandemic, logistical challenges, and international outcry over China’s human rights practices, you have to wonder whether hosting them this time around isn’t too risky a gambit for Beijing, with too little to gain in return.
Will it pay off for China? Color me skeptical. Here’s why.
Hosting costs a lot of money
The economic benefits are dubious
It’s unlikely to yield soft-power dividends
Covid poses significant risks
Beijing has bigger fish to fry

IOC President to meet Peng Shuai in Games ‘closed loop’
Peng to enter Olympic closed loop
IOC will support Peng if she wants inquiry

Beijing’s scant snow offers a glimpse at the uncertainty — and risks — of future Winter Olympics
Natalie Knowles from the University of Waterloo writes about the future of the Winter Olympics in a warmer climate. Crashes and injuries occur more often when temperatures are higher and snow quality is worse. Knowles — who competed on Canada’s Alpine Ski Team, before she became a climate scientist — and her colleagues found that if global emissions remain on their current trajectory, only one of the 21 former Winter Olympic sites would remain suitable for outdoor winter sports by 2080.
(The Conversation) Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, the two sites chosen for the skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding and luge events (among others), lack natural snowfall, making Beijing 2022 the first Winter Olympics to be held entirely on machine-made snow.
But as temperatures continue to rise globally, it’s also a glimpse at what future Winter Olympics might look like. Climate change is an ongoing challenge for all contemporary winter sports.

2 February
Why Putin’s upcoming visit with Xi is the main story of the Olympics so far
While many Western countries, including the United States, Britain and Australia, are diplomatically boycotting the Winter Olympics over China’s human rights record, Putin will join a number of Beijing-friendly leaders at the Games.
Russia was not supposed to have a presence at the Games as part of doping sanctions designed to punish Moscow for having doctored laboratory data that would have helped international anti-doping authorities identify drug cheats.
Putin will watch Russia’s athletes competing in their third consecutive Olympics without their flag and national anthem.

1 February
Within the Olympics’ ‘closed loop,’ Beijing is seen only through a window
(WaPo) For participants, the Olympics are not taking place in China so much as within a tiny universe that happens to be inside China. Officials have labeled it a “closed loop.” People inside cannot go out, and people outside cannot go in. Visitors may observe the host city only at a remove, through the windows of their hotel room or moving buses. The Beijing Olympics are composed of Beijing and the Olympics, and the two are walled off from each other.

29 January
How to Watch the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics: Stream the Games Free Online
Everything you need to know about this year’s winter games, the Opening Ceremony, and how to stream the two-week event from home without cable
(RollingStone) This year’s Winter Olympic games have also added seven new events, from women’s monobobsled, to freestyle skiing big air (men and women), and a number of mixed team events. That brings the number of Olympics events up to 109, an all-time high, so there’s more to watch now than ever before.

Who’s Coming to the Beijing Olympics?
The list of attendees underscores the political — rather than sporting — significance of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
(The Diplomat) China amassed an impressive list of attendees from Central Asia – all five presidents will come – and the Middle East (although Iran is a curious absence, given growing ties between Tehran and Beijing). In that sense as well, the guest list is a sign of the political nature of the Olympics. Countries from the Central Asia and the Middle East are not known as winter sports powerhouses, so there’s little reason for their leaders to attend the Winter Olympics aside from making a political statement about their relations with the host.
Take Central Asia as an example. Turkmenistan has never sent athletes to the Winter Olympics. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan normally send one or two athletes to the Winter Olympics (and Tajikistan is reportedly not sending anyone this year). Uzbekistan typically is a bit better represented but has never sent more than seven athletes to the Winter Olympics (a record set in 1994) and will only send one this year. Kazakhstan is the only Central Asian country that seems to care about the Winter Olympics, sending between 29 and 60 athletes to each Winter Games since 1994. Kazakhstan has 34 athletes set to compete in Beijing.
With that context in mind, it’s clear that the Central Asian leaders aren’t going to Beijing to cheer on their athletes. Instead, their attendance must have deep diplomatic meaning, as there are plenty of factors that would have otherwise compelled Central Asian presidents to stay home.

28 January
Canada officially named its Olympic team
With the opening ceremony exactly one week away and some of its athletes already in Beijing, Canada today presented its full list of 215 competitors for the Winter Olympics. It’s slightly smaller than Canada’s teams for the last two Winter Games, but still the third-largest ever. With 109 men and 106 women, the Canadian Olympic Committee says this is the most gender-balanced squad it has ever sent to a Winter Games
*The oldest woman and the oldest man are both curlers. Jennifer Jones, 47, is going for her second gold medal in the women’s event, while John Morris, 43, tries to repeat as mixed doubles champ.
*The youngest athlete is 16-year-old halfpipe snowboarder Brooke D’Hondt. She was just shy of her first birthday when three of her current teammates — curlers Brad Gushue and Mark Nichols and short track speed skater Charles Hamelin — made their Olympic debuts in 2006. Gushue and Nichols are back for the first time since then, while Hamelin is set to compete in his fifth consecutive Winter Games.
*Hamelin can make history in Beijing. With five Olympic medals already under his belt, the 37-year-old needs one more to match long track speed skater Cindy Klassen for the Canadian Winter Olympic record. A sixth medal would also tie Hamelin with Andre De Grasse as Canada’s most decorated male Olympian. A seventh would put him alongside Penny Oleksiak for most decorated Canadian Olympian ever.
*Five sets of siblings are on the team. Chloé and Justine Dufour-Lapointe, who shared the women’s moguls podium in Sochi eight years ago, will compete against each other again. Christian and Scott Gow (biathlon) and Hannah and Jared Schmidt (ski cross) also participate in the same sport. Cassie Sharpe (ski halfpipe) and Darcy Sharpe (snowboard slopestyle and big air) are in different, though spiritually similar, sports. Same for 2014 ski cross gold medallist Marielle Thompson and her brother Broderick, who is an alpine skier.

Canadian athletes begin to arrive in Beijing for 2022 Olympic Games
Fully vaccinated contingent must produce 2 negative tests before flying, another upon arrival in China

There hasn’t been a fun Olympics for a decade, but at least Beijing is honest about what we’re getting instead
China’s clear and singular message – we’re the best, deal with it – does away with the corporate hype and official platitudes at the Games
By Cathal Kelly
(Globe & Mail) London 2012 was fun. Despite the usual muttering before it got under way – too expensive, too many foreigners, Traffic-mageddon – the city couldn’t bring itself to hold a grudge. Once things really started rolling, the Londoners who couldn’t afford to flee embraced the chaos.
Sochi 2014 was the first truly contemporary Olympics in the sense that it took fun off the table. The lead-in was the rest of the world lobbing political, social and organizational critiques at Russia. Apparently, they don’t like that sort of thing.

22 January
China’s Games: How Xi Jinping Is Staging the Olympics on His Terms
From Beijing’s unexpected bid through the coronavirus pandemic, China has managed to fulfill its promises and cow its critics.
With the Games only days away, China has…plowed through the obstacles that once made Beijing’s bid seem a long shot, and faced down new ones, including an unending pandemic and mounting international concern over its authoritarian behavior.
Mr. Xi’s government has brushed off criticism from human rights activists and world leaders as the bias of those — including President Biden — who would keep China down. It has implicitly warned Olympic broadcasters and sponsors not to bend to calls for protests or boycotts over the country’s political crackdown in Hong Kong or its campaign of repression in Xinjiang, the largely Muslim region in the northwest.
‘China will be China’: Why journalists are taking burner phones to the Beijing Olympics
(WaPo) Journalists covering the Winter Olympics next month say they’ll do their work in Beijing on brand-new cellphones and laptops. When the games are over, they’ll simply leave them behind or throw them away.
The reason: Reporters are concerned that any devices they use there could become infected with tracking software, enabling Chinese authorities to spy on their contents. Hence, the use of “burner” phones and computers.
The better-safe-than-sorry measure highlights the wariness among some of the thousands of journalists who are expecting chilly working conditions in the Chinese capital. …
The Committee to Protect Journalists cast the situation in Orwellian terms. “Assume your hotel room is under surveillance,” the New York-based advocacy group warned in a “safety advisory” last week. “Assume that everything you do online will be monitored. Any call made using a hotel landline or cell phone is not encrypted and can be intercepted. . . . Any conversation you have in your hotel room may be subject to eavesdropping.”
The Foreign Correspondents Club of China said in November that international journalists have been routinely barred from Olympics-related events such as the arrival of the Olympic torch, and prevented from visiting venues — all in violation of pre-Olympic guarantees. Some report being harassed or followed by security officials when they attempted to visit facilities.

18 January
Canadian researchers find security flaws in Chinese government’s MY2022 Olympic app
Researchers at a Toronto-based tech laboratory have uncovered security vulnerabilities and censorship frameworks in an app all 2022 Beijing Olympics attendees must use.
The Citizen Lab, a research institute at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy that studies spyware, found a “simple but devastating” flaw in the MY2022 app that makes audio files, health and customs forms transmitting passport details, and medical and travel history vulnerable to hackers.
Researcher Jeffrey Knockel found MY2022 does not validate some SSL certificates, digital infrastructure that uses encryption to secure apps and ensures no unauthorized people can access information as it is transmitted.

17 January
China says tickets for Winter Olympics will not be sold to general public due to Covid-19
(CNN)Tickets for the upcoming Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing will not be sold to the general public in response to Covid-19 but will instead be distributed by authorities, the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee announced Monday.
“In terms of the grim and complex situation of epidemic prevention and control [and] in order to protect the health and safety of Olympic personnel and spectators, we have decided to change the original plan of public ticket sales,” the committee said.
Groups of spectators will be invited on site throughout the Games and will be required to “strictly comply with Covid-19 prevention and control requirements before, during and after watching the Games.”


22 December
NHL officially announces players won’t attend Beijing Olympics
League cites schedule disruptions, rising COVID-19 cases as reasons for withdrawal
Players expected to return for 2026 Games
Donald Fehr, executive director of National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), agreed a full NHL schedule is important to maintain and that he expects players to be able to attend the next Olympics.

10 December
Beijing Olympics: Canada, the U.K. and others join Biden’s diplomatic boycott, but it’s not enough
(The Conversation) In protest of an “ongoing genocide” in Xinjiang amid other human rights abuses by Beijing, Biden’s diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympic Games is mostly a half measure that will annoy Beijing and could put U.S. athletes at risk. … Xi’s government has a proven track record of punishing anyone who disagrees with it — including athletes and sports organizations.
… Could arbitrary charges be imposed by Beijing on athletes who express dissent against the country’s treatment of Hong Kong, Taiwan or the people of Tibet and Xinjiang? Could athletes be detained if drug tests come back positive? What actions could occur if athletes test positive for COVID-19?
These are all questions that diplomats and political leaders are good at handling. But for the U.S., and now several other nations including Canada, they won’t be there to help during the games.
EU countries skate around Winter Olympics boycott
The US and its allies won’t send officials to the Beijing 2022 Games. But Europe still dithers over a response.
France’s Sports Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told the media early Thursday morning that his junior colleague Roxana Maracineanu, a former Olympic silver medalist, will attend the Beijing event, proclaiming that France would not boycott.
But Blanquer was contradicted minutes later by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who signaled that he’s open to EU-wide talks to discuss a diplomatic boycott.
“We are in favor of a common position [within the EU], which we will discuss in all its aspects at the next meeting of foreign ministers, or at a subsequent meeting. But this issue must be dealt with at a European level,” he said.
His position was immediately echoed by the new German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who traveled to Paris in her first diplomatic visit since taking on her new role on Wednesday. “We will decide in the new federal government how to deal with this issue further, but this will also be done in harmony with our European friends,” Baerbock added.

6-8 December
Ian Bremmer: Should the US boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing?
Washington will refrain from sending government officials to the February Games to protest China’s human rights abuses. Is this the right call?
Trudeau announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics
Canada will not send government officials to 2022 Winter Olympics in China
How Many Countries Will Follow the U.S. Boycott of Beijing’s Olympics?
Several have signaled that they will find ways to protest China’s human rights abuses, whether they declare a diplomatic boycott or not.
(NYT) Neither President Biden nor other American officials are going, but the Russian leader might. New Zealand says it decided months ago that its diplomats wouldn’t be attending. Political leaders of other nations are expected to bow out, too, whether they announce an explicit reason or not.
In less than two months, China will open the 24th Winter Olympics in Beijing under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and now also a diplomatic boycott intended to protest the host country’s repressive policies.
(CBC Radio The Current) The U.S. announcement of a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics has prompted calls for Canada to do the same. We talk to two former Olympians: former U.S. Olympic soccer player Jules Boykoff, who is now a politics professor and author of Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics; and Angela Schneider, a rower who won silver in Los Angeles in 1984. She’s now an associate professor and director at the International Centre for Olympic Studies at Western University.
China condemns U.S. diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics
(Reuters) – China on Tuesday accused the United States of betraying Olympic principles and said Washington will “pay a price” for its diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Games in Beijing even as a top International Olympic Committee official voiced respect for the U.S. decision.
The White House announced on Monday that U.S. government officials will boycott the Winter Olympics because of China’s human rights “atrocities,” though the action allows American athletes to travel to Beijing to compete. Key U.S. allies have hesitated to join the action.
President Joe Biden’s administration cited what the United States calls genocide against minority Muslims in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. China denies all rights abuses.
In pointed snub, no U.S. government official will attend Beijing Winter Olympics
(WaPo) The United States will not send President Biden or any U.S. government official to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February to protest China’s human rights abuses, the White House announced Monday, in a pointed snub to a country seeking to use the Games to enhance its global standing.
Though largely symbolic — the diplomatic boycott does not affect the ability of American athletes to participate in the Games — it will be seen as a major affront by Washington’s greatest military and economic competitor as China seeks to distract from its increasingly repressive policies at home and aggression abroad.
Pressure to mount such a boycott has been building for months, with lawmakers from both parties and human rights advocates calling on the Biden administration not to attend in response to Beijing’s policies targeting democracy activists in Hong Kong and Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region, among other issues. The administration in March declared China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims a genocide.
IOC member says diplomatic boycott of Olympics won’t sway Beijing
Dick Pound: ‘There are the games within games that go into any international relationships.’
(Politico) International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound says diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing winter games are unlikely to make much of an impact.
“That’s a way that governments can signal their disapproval of whatever the particular Chinese policies may be — whether it makes any difference to the Chinese is anybody’s guess. I would say, basically, no. … Kind of by default, everyone’s backing into a position that the athletes will go, the games will go on and the relationships with China will take their course.”

3 December
Open Letter to IOC on Peng Shuai
This is an opinion post by Peter Dahlin, not Safeguard Defenders
With the NGO Safeguard Defenders, I have been paying very close attention to the worrying situation of Peng Shuai in the People’s Republic of China. Peng has been disappeared, at least temporarily, only to appear in a series of ever-stranger and rather obviously staged appearances. This practice is eerily similar to a recurrent CCP tactic of stage-managed (TV) appearances, where victims are paraded and forced to perform by the police, often in an effort to counter international criticism.
While you may not have been fully aware of this practice at the outset of Peng’s disappearance, the behaviour of the IOC has taken a serious turn for the worse following your December 2 press release on a second closed-door video-call with Peng.
Contrary to your latest statements, the actions of the IOC are directly putting Peng at greater risk. If this continued error is indeed due to ignorance, this open letter will at least be one step to remedy such lack of knowledge, information, and understanding.
The practice of stage-managed appearances is most often referred to as forced televised confessions, though recently PRC police will more often resort to posting such videos on their social media channels or have newspapers carry them on their websites. In every scenario, the purpose remains the same: to either attack the person her- or himself, or to counter international criticism.

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