IOC EC arrives in Beijing for evaluation of Beijing 2022 Bid plans




Alexander Zhukov (center), chairman of the International Olympic Committee(IOC) Evaluation

Commission, arrives at Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, on March 23, 2015.

The IOC Evaluation Commission will begin a 5-day inspection visit in Beijing and Zhangjiakou

on Tuesday. Throughout the visit, the IOC Evaluation Commission members will be presented with

he plans of the joint bid by Beijing and Zhangjiakou for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and tour

all the proposed venues and sites.   Photo by Gong Lei






BEIJING  |   2015-03-23 22:55:26


IOC EC arrives in Beijing

for evaluation of Beijing 2022 Bid plans


By Lin Deren and Wang Yong



Members of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Evaluation Commission have arrived in Beijing for a 5-day inspection visit of the Candidate City for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Alexander Zhukov, Chairman of the IOC Evaluation Commission, was welcomed on Monday of March 23 at the Beijing Capital International Airport by Liu Peng, Minister of General Administration of Sport of China and President of the Chinese Olympic Committee, and Wang Anshun, Mayor of Beijing and President of the Beijing 2022 Bid Committee.

The 19-member IOC Evaluation Commission will assess Beijing 2022′s plans through dedicated visits to proposed venues and receiving in-depth briefings on the bid’s vision to host athlete-centred, sustainable and economical Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The programme for the visit is developed in line with recent Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations, which include aims to reduce the costs associated with bidding and a comprehensive assessment of sustainability and legacy aspects.

“It is an honour to have the opportunity to present our vision for the Games to the IOC Evaluation Commission,” said Wang Anshun.

“We are ready to demonstrate that Beijing is the right choice for the Olympic Movement to host the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”

“We have developed a highly robust Games concept, founded on athlete-centred, sustainable and economical principles. For the Olympic Family, athletes and fans, Beijing 2022 would provide an unrivalled experience to enjoy the vibrancy of a major cosmopolitan city and winter sports scenery in the same day.

“For the Evaluation Commission members who recall Beijing from the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, they will see the tremendous changes that the city has enjoyed as a result and catch a glimpse of the endless new opportunities that the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games can bring.”

The Chinese government has launched the “300 Million People Winter Sports Plan” in an effort to introduce more young people to winter sports and build a base of athletes for future Olympics.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said, “It (Beijing 2022′s bid) will inspire over 300 million Chinese to participate in winter sports if we win, which will contribute greatly to the development of international Olympic cause.”

The visit is preceded by a day of official meetings on Monday and will begin on Tuesday.

The Evaluation Commission will publish their evaluation report and distribute to every IOC member prior to the Host City election on July 31, 2015, which will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.







BEIJING  |   2015-03-23 15:44:27


China sets off

on “Long March” in winter sports


By Wang Jingyu



China, already a world power in summer sports, has set off on an ambitious “Long March” – getting 300 million people involved in skiing and skating events, as promised in Beijing’s bid file for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“We believe the Winter Olympics bid could boost participation and involvement in winter sports across China,” said Liu Peng, head of the Chinese Olympic Committee.

“The fast development of winter sports may also change the lifestyle of millions of Chinese and help them live a healthier and more enjoyable life.”

Winter sports have been popular in cold northeastern Chinese provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning. A traditional project titled “Take Millions of Teenagers to Ice and Snow” has been organized for decades and International Olympic Committee member Yang Yang was one of the beneficiaries.

“Thanks to this project, I had the chance to learn to skate at school over 30 years ago,” said Yang, who was born in Qitaihe, a small town in Heilongjiang.

Yang started to learn skating at the age of eight and was selected to the national team in 1995. She won China’s first ever Winter Olympic gold medal at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002.

Now Yang runs a skating rink in Shanghai, a southeastern metropolis over 1,000 kilometers south of her hometown. It was impossible to find a place for skating in Shanghai in the past but the Chinese commercial center has nine skating rinks now.

“I am delighted to see that skating is getting more and more popular in Shanghai,” Yang said. “Our rink receives 400 to 500 skaters per day on the weekend and I found the attendance quite satisfactory.”

“Students from 14 schools have started to take skating classes at our rink since March, which means we will have 2,000 kids learning skating here this semester,” she added.

Yang is confident that the objective of attracting 300 million Chinese people to winter sports will be achieved.

“I don’t see why not,” she said. “When we talk about the Winter Olympics, we are not only talking about Beijing, but also the rest of China. Taking into account the rapid development of winter sports in Shanghai, Guangdong, Nanjing, I believe we can make it.”

Yao Ming, the former NBA star who has been named a promotion ambassador of the Beijing 2022 bid, agreed.

“There are quite a lot of winter sports enthusiasts in south China,” he said.

“The Winter Olympic Games not only promote winter sports, but also offer us great opportunities to enjoy life and have some leisure. I think more and more Chinese would like to get out of crowded cities and enjoy outdoor sports like most of the winter events,” he added.

Yao’s four-year-old daughter has already taken a few practices at local rinks.

“I have taken her to figure skating shows quite a few times and she seems to like it,” Yao said.

According to the Chinese Skiing Association (CSA), ski resorts across China received 3 million domestic visits in the 2013-2014 season, up from merely 10,000 for the 1995-1996 season.

“If we assume that a skier goes skiing 2.5 times per winter, there should be approximately one million skiers all over China,” a CAS official said.

“Skiing is no doubt getting more and more popular in China, but the amount of people involved is still small compared to sports like football and basketball. We need to work hard over the next years.”








BEIJING  |   2015-03-23 20:53:44


Beijing fights pollution

through regional cooperation, plant closures


By Zhong Qun and Kong Xiangxin



On Friday morning of March 20, Li Zhu (a pseudonym) and his colleagues stood in front of a distinctive chimney on Chang’an Avenue in downtown Beijing, waiting to take one last group picture.

Li was about to bid farewell to Guohua Beijing Thermal Plant, once a major pillar in Beijing’s heating system. The plant, whose chimney soars 240 meters into the sky, was shuttered under a government plan Friday.

“I have been working here for more than three decades, so it’s hard to say goodbye,” Li told the Beijing News.

Beijing has renewed its pollution-fighting efforts, including closing a series of coal power plants, to bring back “APEC Blue” — a phrase coined by Chinese netizens to describe the city’s clear skies during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in November.

The efforts are badly needed in Beijing, a city frequently enveloped in acrid smog, particularly as the capital and Zhangjiakou in neighboring Hebei Province pursue a joint bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

According to official figures, the plant’s closure will help slash Beijing’s coal usage by 1.3 million tonnes, or 14 percent of Beijing’s total goal for the year, and cut emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide and dust by 1,410 tonnes, 2,690 tonnes and 420 tonnes respectively.

Guohua is not the only thermal plant to fade into history. Its shutdown came a day after the closure of another 93-year-old thermal power plant run by Beijing Energy Investment Group in western Beijing. Of the four major coal-fired power plants in Beijing, three have been closed so far and the last is scheduled to be closed next year.

Acrid smog has caused public discontent in Beijing, prompting local authorities to take actions to prevent it from worsening, including closing high-polluting companies, banning substandard vehicles and increasing funding to fight pollution.

In 2014, Beijing shut down 392 companies that cause pollution, upgraded 116 types of environmental protection equipment and slashed 2.3 million tonnes of coal use by closing the Gaojing Thermal Power Plant, one of the four major coal-fired plants.

Meanwhile, regional cooperation is high on the agenda for Beijing authorities in tackling foul air.

On Saturday, Wang Anshun, Beijing’s mayor, said at the China Development Forum 2015 that Beijing will map out a long-term plan to combat smog and air pollution with neighboring Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province. Tianjin and Hebei have also been shrouded in smog in recent years.

Regional cooperation to fight pollution has also won support from the central government. On Friday, the National Development and Reform Commission issued a circular stating that the central government will allocate a total of 1.5 billion yuan (241.5 million U.S. dollars) in funds to help six localities, including Beijing, Tianjin and Heibei, treat air pollution.

“All these efforts stand as solid proof that the government is taking the strictest measures, and I believe the blue sky and white clouds will come back to us more and more often,” said Lyu Zhongmei, a professor with Hubei University of Economics.

For Li Zhu, it may be painful to say goodbye to the historic Guohua plant, but he said it is worth the loss as long as it benefits the environment.

“I know the closure is good for the environment, and that comforts my heart,” he said.









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