BEIJING — China on Friday revealed a list of visiting dignitaries for the upcoming Winter Olympics, as the countdown to the much-anticipated sports gala that practices Olympism and solidarity amid trying times reached the final days.
The guest list, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, includes at least 32 foreign heads of state, heads of government, members of the royal family and heads of international organizations.
The unprecedented offline gathering of global leaders amid COVID-19 signals in itself strong support and expectations for the Games, as well as a common call for unity and sports neutrality.
In fact, the upcoming Winter Olympics are widely expected to be “a shot of adrenaline” for a fatigued world which has been battling the raging COVID-19 pandemic and is on a bumpy road to recovery.
News of victory at the sports field will galvanize the athletes’ compatriots in countries hit by COVID-19 variants. Broadcast of athletes rising above difficulties and rivalry will entertain and inspire people grounded by anti-pandemic protocols.
The presence of the guests, despite the U.S.-led farce of a so-called “diplomatic boycott” of the Games, attests to another flop of the U.S. ulterior motive behind its political posturing and manipulation.
Washington has gone to great lengths to mount pressure on Beijing by using the Winter Games as a political tool and manipulating allies as anti-China pawns under the cloak of protecting human rights. From posting photoshopped pictures on social media to frame China for “forced labor” and hiring extras to play “miserable” Uygurs fleeing “genocide,” Washington has been posturing itself as a “human rights” and “democracy” judge, who rules on one case after another according to its own geopolitical agenda.
Less than a week before the Games, reports say that the United States has been conceiving a ploy lately to sabotage the Games, which includes encouraging athletes worldwide to lodge complaints with China for various reasons, deliberately lose, or even not participate in the competitions, and has pledged “high rewards” and “reputation protection” to them.
Such an attempt to wield sports as a political weapon runs counter to the Olympic spirit that upholds unity and the principle of “political neutrality of sports” inscribed in the Olympic Charter.
Politicizing the Olympic Games will come to no avail but affect thousands of athletes who have spent years or even their lives preparing for the Games, said Ng Ser Miang, vice president of the International Olympic Committee. “We believe that the Games itself build bridges, not walls.”
The paltry showing of support for Washington’s ill intention against the Beijing Winter Olympics undermines U.S. credibility as an “effective coalition builder,” Phelim Kine, host of the POLITICO China Watcher, said in his latest newsletter.
French President Emmanuel Macron dismissed Washington’s act as “insignificant and symbolic,” Czech President Milos Zeman called it a “misuse of the Olympic idea,” while Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg warned it was an “artificial politicization” of the Games.
On top of such divisive moves, collapsing trust is also eclipsing the halo of the United States from within.
A 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer released in January indicated that the level of trust among U.S. citizens in their government is merely 39 percent, a significant drop of 10 percentage points since 2017, and the overall index of trust is down to 43.
As people across the world are increasingly woven into a community with a shared future, the Beijing Winter Olympics belong to not just Beijing and China, but the Olympic family and the world at large. The Games’ success amid multiple challenges will constitute an invaluable spiritual asset.
With advanced venues and technologies as well as effective closed-loop management, Beijing is geared up to present a “simple, safe and splendid” grand gathering for global winter sports-lovers and showcase its charm as the first city ever to host both summer and winter editions of the Olympics.
And the Winter Games bode well for the whole year, as the event coincides with the Spring Festival on the Chinese lunar calendar, the annual moment of family reunion in the country and now moment of “togetherness” for the international community, as the new Olympic motto suggests.