The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics kicked off on Friday. Not only were the preparations impeded by the COVID-19 pandemic but also criticism over human rights abuse in China that led to a diplomatic boycott led by the US.
The opening ceremony began with a spring performance shortly after President Xi Jinping and International Olympic Committee Chairman Thomas Bach entered the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium. The performance ended with a Chinese flag passed among 56 Chinese athletes before being raised and the national anthem of China was performed.
Later on a three-dimensional block of ice emerged representing imagery from each of the previous 23 Winter Olympic Games carved by lasers. The block was then shattered by hockey players, releasing the Olympic rings. Afterwards the traditional “parade of nations” took place.
The event featured 3,000 performers on a stage consisting of 11,600 square metres of high-definition LED screen resembling an ice surface.
“In this new and complex global situation, the Winter Olympics will show the confidence and pride of the Chinese people, the love of Chinese people, the affection of China for the people of the world,” Zhang Yimou, the director of the event, told state news agency Xinhua.
“Estonian President Alar Karis and other government officials will not travel to Beijing for the Winter Olympics, which begins on February 4,”...see more
“the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region and other human rights abuses.”Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, Lithuania, Netherlands and New Zealand also joined the boycott.
“We call on all humanity to boycott and not watch the Winter Olympics, and for sports people and participants not to take part in these bloody games,” Hidayet Oguzhan, head of the East Turkestan Education and Solidarity Association, told the crowd on Friday.