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China's time for sustainable Olympics

2019-10-22GoldenBeeChen Jian0

Chen Jian, Director of Beijing-Zhangjiakou Winter Olympics Research Institute, Vice President of China Society of Economic Reform
In the course of reform and opening up, China has leveraged the opportunities brought by the Olympics to put on a series of fascinating performances, which has internally united the people and promoted development, and showcased the charm of China to the world and carried forward Chinese culture.
Since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China has established the principle of integrating the Olympic strategy into the national development strategy and combining the hosting of the Olympic Games with urban development. Compared with previous Olympic Games, the 2022 Winter Olympics has set clearer goals and targets, i.e. while preparing for the 2022 Winter Olympics, China will integrate the Olympic strategy into the coordinated development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, improve the overall development of Zhangjiakou, a co-host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics, and promote the development of China's ice-snow sports and nationwide fitness programs.

The evolution of China's Olympic concept has actually reflected China's adherence to the principles and rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games proposed three concepts of Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People's Olympics. Afterwards, the Olympic Agenda 2020 passed at the 127th IOC session focused on the three pillars of "sustainability, credibility and youth" with 40 specific innovations (referred to as "20+20") including reducing the budget cost of the Olympics, practicing sustainability and paying more attention to the protection of athletes. On November 7, 2014, Beijing officially proposed the "three concepts" of the 2022 Winter Olympics (Beijing 2022), i.e. to run a athletes-centered games, to ensure sustainable development, and to host an economical game. The three concepts are in full compliance with the Olympic Agenda 2020, which not only follow the rules of the IOC, but also reflect the internal need of China’s development in the new era.

Advocating thrift and practicing frugality is the core content of hosting a regular Olympic Games. As a developing country, China has maintained an average annual economic growth rate of 9.5% during the four decades of reform and opening up. But the per capita GDP is still lower than the global per capita level, and there are still a certain number of people in poverty. If the concept of frugality can be really reflected in the Winter Olympics, the preparations for Beijing 2022 will be able to gain the understanding and recognition of the vast majority of the Chinese people.

The Olympic Agenda 2020 formulated by the IOC in 2014, explicitly requested the Olympic Games to fully promote global sustainability and environmental protection. "Respect for the environment" and "ecological development" have become the most important concepts and guarantees of the Olympic Games. The Beijing 2022 will implement the concept of sustainability during the Olympic planning, incorporate it into the improvement of the surrounding natural environment, and integrate it into the long-term development of cities and regions. During the preparation, both Yanqing County of Beijing and Chongli County of Zhangjiakou regard ecological protection as their lifeline, penetrate it through the whole process of economic and social development, fully guarantee that development gives way to ecology at any time, and will unswervingly follow the path of ecological priority and green development.

(The Chinese version of this article is published on China Sustainability Tribune)
(Images in this article are from the Internet)
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