In February 2022 the XXIV edition of the Winter Olympics will begin in Beijing, which will thus become the "City of double Olympics" having already hosted the 2008 summer ones.
As announced by President Xi Jinping, the games will take place in full compliance with environmental sustainability and in fact all the facilities dedicated to the event will comply with green building standards and the CO2 lower content direct trans-critical refrigeration technology will be used for the first time. Space will also be given to innovation through the use of 5G, big data and artificial intelligence for monitoring energy consumption and carbon emissions. The opening and closing ceremonies and all ice events will take place at the Beijing National Stadium. The ski and snowboard competitions will instead take place in the mountain area of Xiaohaituo in Yangqing (northwest of Beijing). The other snow events will take place in Zhangjiakou (Hebei Province) 200 km from Beijing and connected to an hour by high-speed train.
Italy will succeed China in 2026, when it will host the Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina. Bilateral collaboration will thus intensify as happened in 2010 and 2015 with the passage of the Expo (World Exposition) from Shanghai to Milan. This intention was confirmed in a telephone conversation between President Xi Jingping and Italian Government President Mario Draghi on September 7, 2021 and at the World Winter Sports Expo of the China International Fair For Trade in Services (Ciftis), held from September 3 to 7, 2021, where Italy was the guest of honor and participated with about twenty companies in the sports and winter tourism sector.
The Beijing 2022 Olympics represent an opportunity for growth and internationalization for Italian companies and for the promotion of services relating to sports and winter tourism, with particular attention also to digital services. China, on the spur of the Olympics, aims to bring about 300 million people closer to winter sports by 2022. The Italian company TechnoAlpin was chosen in Zhangjiakou for the supply of innovative equipment for snowmaking, dust control and haze removal.
The Chinese and Italian Olympic Committees, at the beginning of 2021, signed a memorandum of understanding to support each other and to collaborate. The coach of the Chinese men's ice hockey team, that of the Chinese Paralympic Alpine skiing team and the assistant coach of the Chinese national bobsleigh team are all Italians and have made a great contribution to China's empowerment in ice and snow sports. .
However, there are currently doubts about the scarcity of direct flights between Italy and China and the strict security protocols envisaged for the Beijing Olympic Games.
"The Beijing edition is proving complicated, China is closed not only for us but for everyone, there is a 14-day quarantine obligation and if the rules remain these, no one will go to the Beijing Olympics. It will be very difficult to succeed. to do what we have been able to do here in Tokyo. I admit that in terms of programming we are behind, there are no flights and we are also worried because we have to send athletes from two federations (ski and ice) to the pre-Olympic competitions in November. Generally these races were held twelve months earlier, but with this schedule alpine skiing would not want to go to Beijing. We talked to the Japanese organizing committee that showed us the protocol: if it is confirmed, no one will go to China".
On the one hand, the Italian political world is in favor of the Beijing Games as an opportunity to strengthen sporting, economic and cultural exchanges between Italy and China, especially in view of the passing of the torch for the Milan Cortina 2026 Olympics. On the other hand, there is the delicate hypothesis of a boycott of the games for civil rights issues and in particular for China's policies in Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on Thursday July 8, 2021, which includes a request to European institutions and member states to "refuse invitations for government and diplomatic representatives to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, unless the government does not demonstrate a significant improvement in the human rights situation in Hong Kong, the Uyghur region of Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and the rest of the country ”. The resolution was passed with 578 votes in favor, 29 against and 73 abstentions and was supported by all the main political groups in Parliament, including Angela Merkel's EPP and Emmanuel Macron's centrist group Renew Europe.
On the hypothesis of a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games, the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijia stressed that "the politicization of sport is contrary to the Olympic spirit and damages the interests of athletes from all countries".
The president of the American Olympic Committee Susanne Lyons also expressed her opposition to the boycott hypothesis, stating that "the boycotts had no effect in the past, especially in 1980. Their only consequence would be to harm the athletes, who trained for a lifetime in order to have the opportunity to represent their nation and compete for medals ".
The Chinese Ambassador to Italy, Li Junhua, wrote an article that was published in several Italian newspapers, including the "Corriere della Sera", and on the website of the Embassy in Italy, in which he declared: "Next year we will relaunch the “China-Italy Year of Culture and Tourism”. In the context of the Winter Olympics, the two countries will organize various online and offline exchange activities regarding culture, tourism and sport in order to promote people-to-people exchanges. In July of this year, for the first time in over a hundred years, the International Olympic Committee changed the motto of the Olympics to "Faster, higher, stronger - Together" to better embody and interpret the spirit of "understanding. mutual, lasting friendship, solidarity and fair play ". China is working hard to make the Beijing Winter Olympic Games a sober, safe and exciting event, and is looking forward to Italy and athletes from around the world coming together in the ancient city to conquer new glory. I am sure that when the Olympic flame is lit again in Beijing, the international community will be even more united to dispel the darkness of the pandemic ”.