The mistake of Beijing as host of the 2008 summer games is all but forgotten in wake of disastrous decision to award the 2022 winter games…to Beijing. BTW, has the Olympic Torch ever been used to light a city on fire?
The IOC this week chose Beijing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics based on the 2008 summer games’ host city meeting the committee’s following criteria:
- Poverty: Beijing is a city of 22 million where more than 65 percent are poverty-stricken (as defined by the UN of living off less than one US dollar per day). In the city’s rural surrounds, that number goes up to 85 percent. And then there’s this story about how Beijing is so poor there are more than 1 million mole people living there now.
- Pollution: Beijing is consistently the worst air quality of any metro in the world and also doesn’t have any clean water.
- Horrible proximity to venues: The majority of the alpine events will be 120 miles-plus from the Olympic village with no mass public transit system to connect athletes, volunteers or spectators. But at least skiers can tour the sweatshops where most of their equipment is made.
- No snow: Mountains slated for use receive fewer than eight inches of snow annually.
- Worsening (if that’s possible) human rights record: Rewarding the games to the Chinese in the midst of the government’s biggest, most stifling crackdown and egregious human rights violations since the early ‘80. More than 500,000 citizens looked upon as dissenters are currently detained without charge or trial by the Chinese government. A crackdown in July netted 300 lawyers and human rights activists who are now imprisoned indefinitely.
In defense of the IOC and its selection, the 2022 winter games bid decision was a Sophie’s Choice of sorts. Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city—also a world leader in stifling the voice of its population with brute force—still had a bid in but the Kazakhstani bribes didn’t make it to the Kuala Lumpur Western Union in time on selection Thursday.
Even so, Beijing is “way worse than Almaty,” John J. MacAloon, a University of Chicago anthropologist told the LA Times this week. “There is no hope that China would make any more progress on human rights than it did with the 2008 Games, and in fact things have declined radically since then under [President] Xi Jinping.”
Internet controls and increased oppression for western areas Xinjiang and Tibet are also on the current regime’s menu.
Countries with actual snow and oppression limited to whether there’s enough Nutella to get through breakfast: Sweden, Norway and Poland all pulled bids earlier this year. Domestically, the Reno-Tahoe bid (remember that?) which cost the state of Nevada about a half-million dollars in research and marketing was summarily squashed by the USOC three years ago in order to focus on bringing the summer games to the states in 2024 (LA, SF, DC) or the winter games in 2026 (Denver, Anchorage, Lake Placid).
Beijing has promised to spend $3 billion on the event’s infrastructure and organization—less than 1/10th of what Putin spent on
Bob Costas’s BOTOX’d eye the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The city will re-use the Bird’s Nest stadium and Water Cube (building these venues resulted in the forcible relocation of more than 1.5 million people) and encourage all Chinese athletes who won in Beijing to turn in their medals so those too can be melted down and re-purposed.
If not, they face prison.