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Only snow required: Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games

Only snow required: Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games
 

Beijing has been awarded the privilege of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games after edging over the only other bidder, the city of Almaty from Kazakhstan. European cities withdrew for political or financial reasons, and the Chinese bid beat Almaty by 44 votes to 40 with one abstention.

However, questions were quickly raised about the city’s suitability for such a mammoth task.

You see, even though the city hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, the chosen destination, which is, in fact, the city of Zhangjiakou, 150 miles to the north of the capital, does not have snow.

This matter has been heavily discussed throughout the last week on social media, giving place to some funny anecdotes, such as this from BBC Weather:

So, with only average precipitation of three to  four millimeters in the month of February – how are they going to make it happen and become the first ever city who host both the summer and winter games?

The Chinese government is planning to spend around $90m on installation and implementation of various water diversions schemes in a bid to meet the requirements and, in addition, large quantities of man-made snow will be required.

All that for a country that is not typically known for its winter sports enthusiasts.

There is also the issue of the country’s dubious reputation when it comes to human rights, which does raise an eyebrow or two, definitely from many activists such as Free Tibet and the CPJ who are committed to protect and allow press freedom.

Beijing’s 2008 Summer Olympics were marred by forced evictions and Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently criticized China for having abusive, unaccountable domestic security forces.

Activists have also highlighted what they say is the country’s deteriorating human rights, with more than 260 Chinese citizens detained or questioned in a recent crackdown on communist party opponents, activists, journalists and academics.

International Olympic President, Thomas Bach, confirmed Beijing had been chosen at the 128th IOC session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“I am so excited. This is China’s pride,” said Zhang Hong, China’s women’s 1,000m speed skating gold medal winner at the Sochi Games.

 

This story was first published on ‘The London Economic’ on 31st July 2015, available here: http://tle-online.com/sport/only-snow-required-beijing-will-host-the-2022-winter-olympic-games/31/07

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