Commentary: Rediscovering China through the Winter Olympics

Athletes of the Olympic delegation of the People's Republic of China parade during the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at the National Stadium in Beijing, Feb. 20, 2022. (Xinhua/Xiong Qi)

BEIJING, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- As the Beijing Winter Olympics came to an end, the world has an opportunity to rediscover China -- a confident, calm and determined nation that is ready to move forward.

In the summer of 2008, Beijing proved to the world that the most populous country in the world could successfully host the Olympic Games.

However, 2022 is not 2008: the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is continuing, and there has been resistance from some Western countries seeking to "politicize" the Winter Olympics. Many asked whether China would be able to run the Winter Olympics well amid multiple challenges at home and abroad. Now China gives the world a resounding answer, based on living facts rather than deliberate eloquence.

Some Western countries have always been afraid that China would become superior to them in terms of development, and have repeatedly used the Olympics to play some despicable political games, pointing fingers at China.

As the Olympic Charter states that "the practice of sport is a human right," the Olympic spirit, which embodies mutual understanding, friendship, solidarity and fair play, should not have been tainted by political manipulation. The Winter Olympics is a competitive platform for athletes, not a stage for politicians to gain political capital. China's attitude of ignoring political noises is simply the best response to it, and it also reflects its firm confidence in its own path.

During the Games, the daily number of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the world was shocking. It was not easy to ensure that athletes from all over the world continue to fully enjoy the competition at the Beijing Winter Olympics. Under such circumstances, Beijing had achieved "zero growth" of positive cases during the Games. This is the result of the implementation of various pandemic-prevention measures, and the contribution of Chinese pandemic-prevention staff.

In the face of such a severe pandemic, China has successfully hosted the Winter Olympics with composure. Isn't this an excellent illustration of how China copes with risks and challenges calmly today?

Through Beijing 2022, the world could see further evidence of a more eco-friendly Beijing and China. Many sports facilities and venues built for Beijing 2008 were remodeled for Beijing 2022. The "Water Cube," the National Aquatics Center in downtown Beijing, was turned into an "ice cube" hosting events including curling. More stunning is the Big Air Shougang venue, which was repurposed from a steel mill. Through this whimsical creation, China simultaneously retained the capital city's industrial memory and made an eye-catching feature for the Winter Olympics.

Only a few new competition venues were built for Beijing 2022, which followed an eco-friendly approach. For the first time at the Olympic Games, all Beijing 2022 venues were being powered with renewable energy, with solar and wind as the primary energy sources.

This "green, inclusive, open and clean" Winter Olympics has now ended. With confidence and calm, China is now embarking on a new journey of achieving higher, faster, stronger goals -- together with the rest of the world.