“Together for a Shared Future” heralds a new era of global cooperation

According to the lunar calendar, February 4th is the herald of Spring and also ushers in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games as the world has eyed on the opening ceremony in Beijing, China. It is significant that many political leaders of the world expressed their good wishes or sincere interest in this global sports gathering. For example, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the solemn commitment made to the world that “China is ready to present a simple, safe and splendid Olympic Games” at the 139th session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Around the globe, we also heard that Russian President Putin who came to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games spoke highly of the excellent preparations made by organizers and wished a successful performance and luck to all athletes and participants in the games. As a well-known fan of ice hockey, Putin underscored the athletes’ sporting characters, professional skills and personal abilities to achieve their goals in a fair and tense competition. It was reported that U.S. President Biden also watches the Olympics Games as White House Press Secretary told a regular press briefing. As IOC President Bach declared, “The Beijing Olympics will launch a new era for global winter sport and that everything is in place for a safe and outstanding event.

Why have the Olympic Games, both the summer and the winter, inspired the peoples around the world? The brief answer is that sports can help economic growth and popular health. But the inquiry underneath is that the Olympic sports can facilitate the solidarity of the international community and then serve the world peace and unity particularly when it is under the shadow of the pandemic, economic slowdown and climate changes. Given the Olympic Games’ expansive and complex facilities and huge investment, what legacies of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing can be taken for the world in the future? Here are three perspectives.

First is related to a nation’s image based upon its power and capabilities. The 2022 Winter Olympic is regarded as the highest quality in history in terms of both hardware and software. It is not an easy job to hold the Olympic Games and much more challenging to organize this Winter Olympic Games during the pandemic time. Despite the scenario, China has vowed to present a successful Winter Olympics and now is hosting it as solemnly promised to the international society. Echoing ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius once said that “it is such a delight to have friends coming from afar”, today the Games’ venues and services have attracted the global attention since around 2900 athletes from four corners of the globe are competing in 109 events of 15 disciplines under seven sports which is supposed to produce more gold medals than any previous Winter Games.

There is no question that all of sports and the logistics are necessarily backed up by substantial financial capacity and science-tech prowess in terms of extensive and solid infrastructure and efficient management. As Hans Morgenthau once put it, any country seeking for prestige is as intrinsic an element of the relations between nations as the desire for prestige is of the relations between individuals. Thus, international and national politics are but different expressions of one and the same social fact. China has made all earnest efforts to keep its promise to the world.

Second touches on a nation’s vision and responsibility. The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is an ideal venue for China to transmit its concepts and cultural heritages to the world. This is especially true when President Xi met with leaders from around the world to discuss China’s friendship with them, the fight against COVID-19 and efforts to promote cooperation under the BRI. For China has reiterated that the Olympic vision and concept of peace and solidarity are consistent with the Beijing Winter Olympics slogan “Together for a shared Future.” Generally, China is the largest developing country of the day but also a rapidly rising power in the world, it requires China not only to focus on a sustainable domestic development for next decades, but also to take the necessary commitments to act in line with the UN Charters for defending international justice and fairness. This is one of the major reasons why China is committed to the original Olympic values and firmly opposed to the hostile attempts to politicize sport or use it as a tool of coercion, outrageous competition, and racial and cultural discrimination.

China is proud that Beijing is the first city in Olympic history to host the summer and the winter games as well. Accordingly, Chinese government has steadily and earnestly contributed to an overall preparation for this sports spectacle despite remaining coronavirus restrictions as is the Chinese understanding of Olympic spirit in line with “faster, higher, stronger, and together.” From the inception of holding the Olympic Games six years ago, China has set its aim to create what “the Year of Tiger” (2022) represents in light of the wisdom of its ancient culture, e.g. the Beijing Winter Olympics epitomizes “Transparent, Inclusive, Green, Extraordinary and Refreshing games.” (TIGER)

Third is a testament to the significance of constructing a community of common future for mankind proposed by China and to the greater solidarity of the international community and consolidation of efforts in responding to the global challenges ahead. As the Olympic spirit brings out humanity’s best: “teamwork and solidarity; talent and tolerance”, it is pivotal to understand how China has encouraged the athletes to harness the power of the Olympic spirit to promote a global community of common future. On January 24, China endorsed the UN resolution of “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal” which was adopted by consensus and co-sponsored by 173 member states. It calls for observation of the tradition of the Olympic Truce during the period of sports-running. The adoption of the resolution refers to a recognition of the role of sport in building a global capacity to respond to the impact of COVID-19, an opportunity to demonstrate the value of human solidarity, resilience and international cooperation, and an expression of international support for the Beijing Winter Olympics and the International Olympic causes.

Now with the 2022 Winter Olympic Games officially unfolding in Beijing, the world aspires to cooperate with each other in their efforts to use sport as a tool to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the period of the Olympic. To attain these ends, China is confident that, with the support of all countries and the guidance of the Olympic spirit, it will be able to present a successful event to the whole world. China will continue champion the faith that all countries, regardless the ideological and institutional differences, should harbor mutual respect, tranquility, tolerance, foresightedness and co-prosperity for our global village.

History tells us that the only way to address the various risks and challenges effectively is “together for a shared future”. Echoing this spirit, U.N. Secretary-General Guterres stressed “the world now needs a successful Winter Olympics to send a clear message to the world that people of any country, ethnicity and religion can rise above differences to achieve solidarity and cooperation.”

Paul Wang
Paul Wang
Wang Li is Professor of International Relations and Diplomacy at the School of International and Public Affairs, Jilin University China.