Xi Focus: President Xi delivers on Olympic promises

Published February 2, 2021, 12:38 PM

by Manila Bulletin

  • President Xi Jinping has championed China’s drive of getting 300 million people involved in winter sports.
  • The 2022 Winter Olympics has become a catalyst to promote sustainable economic growth not only in Beijing but in areas surrounding the capital.
  • Beijing 2022 serves as a bridge of solidary and cooperation.

By sportswriters Gao Peng, Wang Meng and Su Bin

BEIJING, Jan. 31 — A puck zips around the rink so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. Wearing a full-body suit, Bahe Dana is ready to dive, slide, and jump back up into a ready stance at a moment’s notice.

At an outdoor rink in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, 8-year-old Bahe Dana is learning how to play ice hockey goalie. “I like this game because it’s cool to play and you can get to ice skate,” says Bahe, one of the first generation in China to grow up with ice hockey.

Bahe Dana (R) of a local school’s ice hockey team poses with his coach Zhou Xiaofeng (C) and his teammate during a training session in Fuyun County, in Altay, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, on Dec. 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Sadat)

Winter sports in China was once considered a foreign and unaffordable pastime, but thanks to a drive initiated by President Xi Jinping, more are now taking to ice rinks and ski slopes.

A PROMISE MADE TO THE WORLD

On July 31, 2015, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing, making the Chinese capital the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games.

Xi appeared on television hours before IOC members cast their votes to personally guarantee a “fantastic, extraordinary and excellent Olympic Winter Games.”

“The 2022 Olympic Winter Games, if held in China, will boost exchanges and mutual understanding between the Chinese and other civilizations of the world, encourage more than 1.3 billion Chinese to engage in winter sports with interest and passion, and give them yet another opportunity to help advance the Olympic movement and promote the Olympic spirit,” said Xi.

A long-time sports fan, Xi once pointed out that sport is an important way to improve people’s health and fulfill their aspirations for a better life.

That explains why he has pledged to get more than 300 million Chinese people on skis and skates, and why health has been incorporated into Beijing’s second Olympic journey.

To make skiing more accessible to the public, hundreds of new facilities are being built. Five years ago there were only 460 ski resorts in China, but by the end of 2019, that figure had jumped to 770, according to a white paper on China’s winter sports industry.

Some 2,000 primary and secondary schools across the nation had included winter sports in their curriculum by the end of 2020.

A student learns skiing under the instructions of a trainer at the Jiangjun Mountain ski resort in Altay, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Nov. 20, 2019. (Xinhua/Sadat)

During Xi’s latest visit this month to Beijing’s Yanqing District, he underscored the 2022 Games’ role in developing China’s winter sports, especially snow sports, and expressed his hopes that hosting the Winter Olympics would contribute to China’s goal of becoming a global sporting power.

“With these 300 million people engaging in winter sports, we can clearly say the history of winter sports will be one before Beijing 2022 and one after the Winter Games in Beijing. So it’s really a landmark event for the global development of winter sports,” said IOC president Thomas Bach.

Mass inoculation shows safety, efficacy of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines: expert

Chinese respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan speaks in an interview in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong Province, July 29, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)

GUANGZHOU, Jan. 31 — China’s renowned respiratory-disease expert Zhong Nanshan said Sunday that the mass inoculation of homegrown COVID-19 vaccines underway in China shows the vaccines are safe and effective.

The two vaccines currently in use in China, the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) COVID-19 vaccine and the CoronaVac vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., are both inactivated vaccines that are relatively safe, Zhong said at the launch ceremony of an event held in south China’s Guangdong Province to promote the use of technology in COVID-19 prevention and control.

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), more than 24 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in China by Sunday.

“The rate of the vaccines’ mild adverse reactions, which include fever, soar arms and other symptoms, is six per 100,000 people,” Zhong said.

The rate of severe adverse vaccine reactions is one in a million, only one third of that of flu vaccines, he said.

A resident receives the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a sports center in Daxing District, Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 23, 2021. (Xinhua/Peng Ziyang)

On the same day, Xu Wenbo, head of the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention under the China CDC, also said the incidence of severe abnormal reactions caused by the COVID-19 vaccines currently used in China is no higher than that of the influenza vaccines.

In terms of the Chinese vaccines’ efficacy, Zhong said the vaccines can protect people against COVID-19 for at least six months.

“We found that antibody levels in the first batch of inoculated people in China remained at 90 percent of their original levels after nearly eight months,” he said, adding that the Chinese vaccines’ effective period has yet to be confirmed with precision.

The difference in the vaccines’ efficacy rates shown by clinical trials in various countries is due to varying standards used in those countries, he said.

“The phase-1 and phase-2 clinical trials of the two Chinese vaccines were conducted domestically, while the phase-3 trials were carried out in various countries because there were too few COVID-19 cases in China then,” he said. “The countries apply different standards. In some countries, most of the vaccinated people are medical workers who have very high exposure risks.”

China’s consumption recovery from COVID-19 fallout boosts confidence: experts

BEIJING, Jan. 31 — China’s consumer market is expected to show a recovery growth trend this year, as various policies to expand domestic demand continue to take effect, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

China maintained its position as the world’s second-largest consumer market last year, with sales of consumer goods reaching 39.2 trillion yuan (about 6.06 trillion U.S. dollars), the MOC said at a press conference Friday.

How did Chins’s consumer market manage to largely recover from COVID-19 fallout? What does it mean to the world? Experts give an answer.

Consumption remains the “ballast stone” for the stable development of the economy, accounting for 54.3 percent of its gross domestic product, said the MOC.

China ranked as the world’s largest online retail market for the eighth straight year in 2020, with online sales surging by 14.8 percent year on year.

Official data also showed more than 24 million livestreaming marketing activities took place in 2020, as a legion of leading influencers became household names through their online sales.

To further boost consumption, the MOC will roll out a series of policies including expediting online and offline integration, expanding rural consumption, and promoting the construction and renovation of convenience stores, breakfast shops, vegetable markets and other convenient service facilities.

 
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