“I declare the 24th Winter Olympics open”: Chinese President Xi Jinping kicked off the 2022 Olympics on Friday, which brings Beijing into Olympic history by becoming the first city to organize the Summer and Winter Games.
And suddenly the Olympic rings, improbable mixtures of ice and special effects, appeared in the middle of the Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed the “Bird’s Nest” and built especially for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Conceived as fourteen years ago by the Chinese director Zhang Yimou, author in 2008 of a breathtaking patriotic and colorful celebration with 14,000 extras, dancers and acrobats, the opening ceremony of the 2022 Olympics unsurprisingly highlighted a China young, modern and diverse.
With “only” 3,000 extras, Zhang Yimou notably presented the 56 ethnic groups and Chinese civil society during the very martial arrival of the Chinese flag, carried by eight soldiers with an almost robotic gait.
The ceremony took place in front of stands filled to a third of their capacity by spectators invited for the occasion and in a heavy context, between Covid, diplomatic tensions and controversy.
Among the spectators of this ceremony boycotted by several Western countries, led by the United States, in order to denounce human rights violations in China, some twenty world leaders, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Vladimir Putin, without mask.