As Beijing becomes the first city to host both a Summer and Winter Olympics, the lattice-shaped “Bird’s Nest” stadium took center stage, just as it did for the 2008 Games — viewed as China’s coming-out party on the world stage.
China attempted to turn the page on a difficult build-up clouded by human rights concerns and Covid with the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics on Friday according to AFP.
President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony, and under his leadership, China has adopted a more assertive foreign posture than it did 14 years ago.
More than 20 international leaders, including Xi’s Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, will join him in declaring the Games officially open. The two presidents met earlier in the day.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia are among the countries boycotting the Olympics due to China’s human rights record, particularly the treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.
Their competitors will compete in the Games, which will take place inside a massive “closed loop” meant to combat the virus and will run until February 20.
The event is the brainchild of Zhang Yimou, the famed Chinese film director who directed the 2008 spectacle.
This year’s event will feature some 3,000 artists, with topics such as “environmental protection and low carbon emission.”