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Preparation work is on the right track! Beijing gets ready for 2022 Winter Olympics

Beijing will become the first city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games

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An image of 2012 Olympic Games. Wikimedia

Beijing, Dec 27, 2016: Beijing has wasted no time during the one and a half years since it won its bid to host the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games along with Zhangjiakou city in July, 2015.

The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Games, which was launched last December, said in its annual report released last week that preparation work is on the right track and will be speeded up next year, reports Xinhua news agency.

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Beijing’s work has been recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC Coordination Commission held talks with the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee and visited several venues during their first meeting in Beijing in October, and said they were pleased with Beijing’s preparations.

The IOC also praised the sustainability of Beijing’s work, saying it illustrated the vision of the Olympic Agenda 2020.

The committee for Beijing 2022 has taken full advantage of the legacy of the Beijing 2008 Olympics and Paralympic Games — including repurposing existing competition venues, other infrastructure and drawing on the experience of professionals with deep operational experience.

According to the Beijing Organising Committee, venue construction will be started in 2017 and completed by 2019, and all the venues will be ready for test events in 2020.

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There will be a total of 25 competition and non-competition venues for Beijing 2022. Twelve venues are in Beijing, among which 11 are legacies of the 2008 Olympic Games. The only new venue in Beijing will be the speed skating venue.

The conceptual design of the speed skating venue has been opened to international bidding and the final design will be selected soon. The construction will get underway next April.

The alpine ski competition will be held in Yanqing. Most of the courses for this event have been selected this year. Also in Chongli, the Gent Resort Secret Garden has built an Olympic standard half-pipe. Gent is the training base for the Chinese national half-pipe ski and snowboard teams, and will host the FIS Freestyle and Snowboard World Championships in 2021 as test events for the Olympic Games.

According to the Beijing Organising Committee, the emblem for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games will be unveiled in the second half of 2017, and marketing development will be underway soon.

The Beijing Organising Committee will launch first tier sponsorship recruitment in early 2017, and tier two in 2018. Exclusive sponsorship recruitment will start in 2019.

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Beijing has also put in efforts to encourage participation in winter sports, as China has vowed to encourage 300 million people in China to take up winter sports ahead of the 2022 Games.

At the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur last July, Beijing, along with Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province, beat Kazakhstan’s Almaty to win its bid to co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Beijing will become the first city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. (IANS)

Next Story

High-Speed Railways, Thailand to Sign Pact with China

“Beijing claims it is committed to working with other countries to foster environment-friendly and sound development, but the practice so far has raised some serious concerns,” said Yaqui Wang, HRW's China researcher.

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Thai officials gather near a model of a high-speed rail during the ground-breaking ceremony of the Bangkok-Nong Khai railway project, in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, Dec. 21, 2017. RFA

Thailand, China and Laos will sign a memorandum of cooperation on a new bridge for a railway across the Mekong River during Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha’s Beijing visit this week, a Thai foreign ministry official said Tuesday.

The bridge would link Thailand’s northeastern Nong Khai province with the Laotian capital Vientiane, Thai officials told BenarNews, in what analysts believe will reinforce China’s ambitions to build a high-speed railway network in Southeast Asia, stretching through Malaysia and feeding into Singapore.

Prayuth, who is scheduled to be in the Chinese capital on April 26-27, is expected to sign the trilateral pact on the sidelines of a conference of world leaders on China’s massive One Belt, One Road (OBOR) infrastructure initiative, Busadee Santipitaks, spokeswoman for the ministry of foreign affairs, told BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

“Thailand, Laos PDR and China will sign a three-nation memorandum of cooperation to build a bridge for a high-speed railway at Thai-Lao border,” Busadee said.

Thai officials did not respond to BenarNews emails requesting more details on the memorandum.

China, which aims to increase its footprint in Southeast Asia through OBOR, has managed to push ahead with its strategy to build a trans-Asian railway network.

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The second phase linking Nakhon Ratchasima to Laos is awaiting approval, officials told BenarNews. Pixabay

Last month, Laotian officials announced that a 414-km (257-mile) high-speed railway linking Vientiane with Kunming city, capital of China’s southwestern province of Yunnan, was almost half-complete and on track to be in service by December 2021. Construction for that project began four years ago.

Under China’s planned 3,000-km (1,875-mile) pan-Asian railway network, Chinese rail lines will extend farther south – all the way to the tip of the Malay Peninsula, linking Beijing to Singapore, one of Washington’s closest allies in the region and a strategic gateway to the Strait of Malacca.

China’s OBOR initiative has drawn criticism, including from Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad, who told reporters last month that the Philippines should be wary of Beijing’s “debt-trap diplomacy” that includes extending excessive credit with the alleged intention of extracting economic or political concessions from the debtor country.

Economists contend that the initiative forces emerging economies to take on unsustainable levels of debt to fund Beijing-backed projects, highlighting such concerns after a Chinese state-owned company took over the majority stake in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port after Colombo struggled to repay its loans from China.

Thailand officially kicked off its high-speed railway project in December 2017 when Prayuth and Chinese officials led a ground-breaking ceremony for a 3.5-km (2-mile) segment of the rail in the northeast province of Nakhon Ratchasima.

The junta-led government under Prayuth has approved a 179-billion baht (U.S. $5.8 billion) budget for the first phase of the 253-km (158-mile) railway linking Nakhon Ratchasima with Bangkok.

The second phase linking Nakhon Ratchasima to Laos is awaiting approval, officials told BenarNews.

OBOR, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature policy, is an estimated U.S. $1 trillion-plus initiative that stretches across 70 countries. It aims to weave a network of railways, ports and bridges, linking China with Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Prayuth’s Beijing visit would include a roundtable meeting with leaders of 38 countries during which he is expected to express the commitment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to support China’s OBOR projects, Thai government spokesman Lt. Gen. Weerachon Sukhonthapatipak told BenarNews.

“First, we stress Thailand’s role as the ASEAN chair in supporting and committing to China’s attempt to link sub-regions and regions,” he said.

Prayuth, as current chairman of the 10-member ASEAN, will meet Xi and other Chinese officials, including Prime Minister Li Kequiang and Deputy Prime Minister Han Zheng to discuss ways to bolster bilateral relationship and economic cooperation, Weerachon said.

Prayuth will be accompanied by his deputy, Somkid Jatusripitak, the minister of transport and the minister of foreign affairs, he said.

China has ranked as Thailand’s largest trading partner since 2012, buying about U.S. $30 billion of Thai products last year, according to the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

Respect human rights, HRW tells Beijing

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China, which aims to increase its footprint in Southeast Asia through OBOR, has managed to push ahead with its strategy to build a trans-Asian railway network. Pixabay

Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Sunday, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Beijing to ensure that the OBOR initiative would be respectful of the human rights of people living in areas near the infrastructure projects.

Under OBOR, Beijing should set out requirements to enable consultation with groups of people potentially affected by proposed projects, ensuring that affected communities can openly express their views without fear of reprisal, HRW said in a statement.

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“Beijing claims it is committed to working with other countries to foster environment-friendly and sound development, but the practice so far has raised some serious concerns,” said Yaqui Wang, HRW’s China researcher.

“Criticisms of some Belt and Road projects – such as lack of transparency, disregard of community concerns, and threats of environmental degradation – suggest a superficial commitment,” Wang said. (RFA)