In an interview with Bloomberg TV, International Olympic Committee Executive Director Christophe Dubi has said that the 2022 Winter Olympics could take place without fans present.
If confirmed closer to the date, the move would mirror what is currently happening in Tokyo at the ongoing 2020 Games, albeit with the move seen as a huge loss of face for China’s Communist Party so intent in recent months on displaying to the world a nation moving past COVID-19 as the rest of the planet continues to struggle with the pandemic.
The announcement by the IOC is based on reports indicating Chinese authorities have now severely limited travel across the country to help counter the latest outbreak of the Delta variant in the country, with Delta cases now being reported in at least 15 provinces from the extreme southwest to the northeast.
“Let’s see how the pandemic evolves around the globe and especially in China, and then let’s look at the consequence of participation for spectators,” Mr. Dubi said on Thursday, adding “(We) have heard a number of the athletes say, ‘What matters is that we can compete, and we’ve gotten used to participating even without spectators.’ But if you have the choice, you would prefer to have spectators.”
Beijing has not yet released ticketing details or initiated presales, but in response to the outbreak, Hong Kong has once again tightened its border controls against visitors from the Mainland.
The announcement will bring hope to those supporting the rights of millions of oppressed Turkic people in East Turkistan (Ch: Xinjiang) with Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in exile, Salih Hudayar, a vocal critic of Beijing having been awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics at the same time it holds millions of its ethnic Uyghur population in concentration camps in the country’s northwest.
Image: Martin Sanchez – Unsplash