Rabat - Beijing has been selected to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, making it the first city in history to host both a summer and winter Games.
Rabat – Beijing has been selected to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, making it the first city in history to host both a summer and winter Games.
Beijing started out as an underdog in their bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, but after cities such as Oslo, Munich and Stockholm decided against moving forward to host the games, Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan remained as the only two cities in the running.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) July 31, 2015
“I am so excited. This is China’s pride,” Zhang Hong, China’s women’s 1,000m speed skating gold medal winner at the Sochi Games, told CCTV.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that Beijing was awarded the Games over Almaty because it fitted its new plans for a “stronger focus on sustainability, legacy, and transparency.”
The plan is to host the stage ice events in Beijing, while the snow-based competitions will take place in the city of Zhangjiakou, about 190 km northwest of Beijing in Heibei Province.
After it successfully hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing seemed to be the favorite despite concerns about a lack of natural snow in the mountains and protests from human rights groups.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently criticized China for having abusive, unaccountable domestic security forces, and called the decision “a slap in the face to China’s besieged human rights activists”.
Activists have highlighted what they suggest is the country’s worsening human rights, with more than 260 Chinese citizens detained or questioned in a recent crackdown on communist party opponents, activists, journalists and academics.
“The Olympic motto of ‘higher, faster, and stronger’ is a perfect description of the Chinese government’s assault on civil society: more peaceful activists detained in record time, subject to far harsher treatment,” said Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China director.
Olympic skeleton champion Lizzie Yarnold told BBC Radio 5, “Before 2008 there was a lot of discussion around human rights and awareness around it. I hope that the International Olympic Committee have taken that into consideration and are going to make actual changes this time, rather than just discuss it.”
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