Beijing appeals to Australians for their support for the Winter Olympics

Plea for mutual support: Wang Xining, Chinese chargé d’affaires in Canberra, during the countdown event. (Photo: Screenshot via WAtoday)

China has begun the 30-day countdown to the Beijing Winter Olympics by pleading with Australia and Australians to show their support and attend the Games.

On Tuesday, during an online event co-hosted by the Chinese Consulate-General in Sydney and the Australian Olympic Committee, the Olympic hosts pleaded for authorities, representatives, and the media to rally behind the country and athletes in the "true spirit of the Games."

Referring to recent statements by several countries of diplomatic boycotts of the Games over human rights concerns, Consul General Zhou Limin stated that holding the Olympics was a "huge challenge for any country," particularly during a pandemic, but believed his country was prepared.

"Recently, certain countries have made a considerable fuss over the Beijing Winter Olympics. Today's ceremony reflects our numerous well wishes in this environment," Zhou stated. "We look forward to a magnificent international sporting event together." The Olympic Games are for brotherhood and unity."

"It's also a platform for people from many countries to build bridges of understanding. We hope you will continue to gain an understanding of China and its culture via sports and friendship between our two peoples. We cordially invite our Australian friends to attend the Games."

Wang Xining, the Chinese embassy's chargé d'affaires in Canberra, stated that China and Australia have historically supported one another. He remembers when his country bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics but was defeated by Sydney.

"My memory is still vivid, and despite the fact that we lost to Sydney by just two votes, China lent its full support to Australia's bid to host the Sydney Olympics in the years that followed."

When Beijing won the 2008 Summer Olympics, he stated that it had "enormous support from our Australian friends and the sports community."

"Today, the COVID pandemic shows no signs of abating, and the world appears to have grown more volatile, polarized, and frightening. The Beijing Winter Olympics take place at such an auspicious time."

"We believe sport knows no boundaries," he said, adding that China hoped the world would unite under the Olympic banner to "combate the pandemic, combat climate change, and address other global challenges."

Additionally, the hosts referred twice to a United Nations resolution adopted on December 2 – which recognized "the unifying power of sport" in promoting development and peace – to emphasize their awareness that, despite diplomatic opposition, the majority of countries supported the Games.

Australian authorities and visitors mirrored the sentiment, airing a film featuring Australian athletes expressing their eagerness to compete not only in the Games but also "for the love of the people and culture."

Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Geoff Lipshut expressed optimism following recent test events in Beijing, describing the venues as "absolutely excellent."

He stated that Australian competitors were still competing in qualifications in Europe and North America and will be in Beijing at the end of the month.

On February 2, Australia will meet Sweden in mixed doubles curling and the hosts the following day, before the Games' official beginning on Friday, February 4.

Publish : 2022-01-04 15:20:00

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