In a rare face-to-face encounter with a foreign guest in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on Tuesday that China will “present to the world a streamlined, safe, and splendid” Olympic Games.
Xi’s meeting with Bach is expected to be the first of several such meetings for the Chinese president, who has not left China in more than two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as dignitaries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, descend on Beijing for the Olympics, which are set to begin on February 4 in the capital and the neighboring province of Hebei.
According to accounts, Xi donned a white mask with a red Chinese flag in the corner while standing next to a masked Bach at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.
According to an official statement, Xi stated that the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will be conducted on schedule, as promised, following more than six years of preparations.
“China will keep its word and present the world with a streamlined, safe, and spectacular Olympic Games.” This is the first time a full worldwide sporting event has been held on time since the commencement of the Covid-19 epidemic. “It’s a great example of putting the new Olympic motto into action: ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together,'” Xi added.
At the Beijing Olympics, about 3,000 competitors from nearly 90 nations and regions will compete.
According to Xi, China has spared no effort in the building of venues, infrastructure, and services for the Games, in keeping with the “athletes-centered” approach.
“China is confident that all Games participants, relevant personnel, and the Chinese people will be safe,” he said.
The Games will take place inside a “closed-loop” shielding athletes and other participants from outsiders from February 4 to February 20, and no tickets will be sold to the general public.
To combat Covid-19, China has effectively closed its borders to overseas visitors, however a minor outbreak of 67 domestic cases — a mix of Omicron and Delta types – has prompted Beijing officials to declare a “emergency.”
According to a summary on the IOC website, Xi and Bach discussed Covid-19 countermeasures at the Games, and Bach informed Xi that “China is now a winter sports country, and this is the start of a new era for global winter sports.”
“Some countries are sending athletes to the Olympic Winter Games for the first time,” Bach said, according to the Chinese readout, “which fully demonstrates the extensive support of the international community for the Beijing 2022 Games.” He added that this was in contrast to the overwhelming international opposition to sports politicization.