Nun they are opened, the games in the dictatorship, by China’s head of state and party. Whose games this is supposed to be in Beijing became clear when Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), bowed to Xi Jinping as they greeted each other on the VIP stand. The soldiers goose-stepped to the flagpole to raise the red flag of the People’s Republic. The spectators invited to the national stadium waved their China flags in amazing condition for a good hour until the entry of the nations was over.
Outside the stadium, Beijing’s still impressive bird’s nest, armored police vehicles had already been parked and securing empty streets in the afternoon. When the opening of the Games was over, the athletes returned to their bubbles. The Beijing Winter Games can begin.
“A long-cherished dream is coming true,” said Cai Xi, head of China’s organizing committee. Whose dream? It is obvious. “Your Olympic dream is coming true,” Bach called out to the athletes. But under what circumstances and on what terms? Perhaps one or the other can be encouraged by the involuntary comedy, which is always remarkable, that Lennon’s hit “Imagine”, which is very popular at opening ceremonies, brings with it, which was also recorded in Beijing shortly after Xi Jinping’s opening words: “Imagine there’s no country,” Lennon wrote. Imagine – no country. Why not?
Olympia without heads of state would be attractive
Imagine it’s the Olympics and no country could be there. Athletes who only compete for themselves? An idea that always gains in appeal when nationalist politicians make the games their project. How fitting that Vladimir Putin headed Xi’s guest list at the stadium.
And of course Xi then let the final point be set according to his taste, unmistakably for all the world: The fact that the Uyghur Dinigeer Yilimujiang from Xinjiang was allowed to light the Olympic flame alongside Zhao Jiawen showed the world who is setting the standards at these games. The Uyghurs are an Olympic topic – as Xi wants.
The day before, Thomas Bach had refused to publicly assess the Chinese state’s crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. Did he know that the Uyghur Yilimujiang will light the flame? irrelevant. This final scene proved who dominates the games for now. It’s China’s games. It’s Xi Jinping’s games. The IOC set the stage for him.