The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote for the hosting city of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 31. The choice comes down to either Beijing or Almaty, Kazakhstan.
More and more people are now participating in winter sports, while skiing and skating techniques are developing fast in China. In its joint bid together with Zhangjiakou, a city in neighboring Hebei Province, for the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics, China's capital possesses distinct advantages.
Surveys by the IOC and the Beijing Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee show that 90 percent of Chinese people support the hosting of the Games and are willing to do what they can to help make this event happen.
As a successful host of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Beijing boasts extensive experience in holding large-scale sporting events in addition to world-class stadiums, while Zhangjiakou comes equipped with the climate necessary for winter sports. As an international metropolis, Beijing is more than capable of receiving and accommodating its international guests. Its hotels, Olympic Village, telecommunications, security and transportation services are all surplus to requirements as regards the hosting of the competition. Notably, Beijing is one of the world's most popular destinations for business and leisure travelers, and the city welcomed some 260 million tourists last year.
At the delegation's presentation in Lausanne in June, Vice Premier Liu Yandong made a commitment on behalf of the Chinese Government to support in any way possible Beijing's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Now, the Chinese Government intends to make good on this promise.
A successful bid will make Beijing the only city in the world that has hosted the Olympics in both summer and winter. The holding of Winter Olympics in Beijing and Zhangjiakou will greatly increase the population participating in winter sports in China. The Winter Olympic Games will directly involve at least 300 million people in Beijing, Hebei and surrounding areas. Employment will be boosted, and the ripple effect of Beijing's success will help promote economic development as well as the improvement of air quality and people's living conditions. The Games will also leave behind a lot of sustainable Olympic heritage in terms of sports, culture, education and stadiums.
Of course, whether or not China proves successful in its bid, the Chinese people will take things in stride. The construction of a high-speed railway between Beijing and Zhangjiakou and the treatment of air pollution across the region are underway. If China wins the hosting rights, the facilities can offer their services to the Olympic family; if not, these facilities are also part of the country's development plan, which can benefit the Chinese people all the same.