By Chris King • 04 February 2022 • 19:52
Xi Jinping, the President of China officially declared the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics open today, Friday, February 4. As he spoke, the stunning Bird’s Nest stadium that was constructed for the 2008 Games, reverberated with the loud thunder of fireworks
‘Together for a Shared Future’, is the slogan of this year’s Games. This choice of slogan now has rather ironic overtones in light of the diplomatic boycott staged by many western countries, citing their opposition to China’s human-rights record.
Added to this, international spectators have been banned from attending, with the Omicron variant running rampant in the city.
Beijing has continued, undeterred by the political and epidemiological situations. Chinese citizens, along with dignitaries, athletes, and members of the media, made up a crowd of tens of thousands who witnessed this opening ceremony inside the stadium.
Top world leaders were notable by their absence, but Russian President Vladimir Putin flew to Beijing to offer his continued support. Ahead of the ceremony, he had met with Mr Xi, and as a result, in a show of unity, they released a joint statement condemning the NATO expansion in Eastern Europe. Chinese claims to Taiwan were also mentioned.
Acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou was again the brain behind the opening ceremony. Compared to his one-hour opening sequence at the 2008 Games, today’s event was a shortened version, probably no more than 20 minutes in length.
The athletes launched their usual parade into the stadium, while Yimou’s masterful combination of elaborately choreographed performances, many by children, and LED and computer-generated displays wowed the crowd.
China is currently celebrating the start of its Year of the Tiger, and performers took to the stage holding large stalks of ‘grass’ that symbolized spring. Bing Dwen Dwen – a panda astronaut – the official mascot of these Games made an appearance, waving to the crowd, as the five Olympic rings emerged from a projection of a block of ice.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, in his address, said that “in our fragile world, when division, conflict, and mistrust are on the rise, we show the world, yes, it is possible to be fierce rivals, while at the same time living peacefully and respectfully together”.
Adding, “This is the mission of the Olympic Games. Bringing us together in peaceful competition. Always building bridges, never erecting walls”, as reported by theglobeandmail.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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