Back to the future: Olympics returning to China, not a choice location – Chicago Tribune

China, which has 1.35 billion people, made approximately that many promises about the improved human rights in the country that would result from Beijing’s hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics.

After seven years of breaking those promises and creating an atmosphere more repressive than what existed prior to 2008, the Olympics are going back to Beijing.

This time, it will be the 2022 Winter Games, making Beijing the first city to be host of both summer and winter Olympics.

Left with a choice between bad and bad on the human rights front, with two authoritarian countries as the only bidders, the International Olympic Committee made the safe pick of Beijing over Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a surprisingly close 44-40 vote Friday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“They chose certainty in Beijing,” IOC vice-president Craig Reedie of Britain told the Associated Press. “But I don’t think anybody would have believed that the result would have been that close.”

The Beijing Winter Games will become the third straight in northeast Asia, following the Pyeongchang, South Korea Winter Games in 2018 and the Tokyo Summer Games in 2020.

When four Western European cities – Oslo, Stockholm, Munich and Krakow – dropped out of the 2022 competition over lack of public support amidst the spiraling cost of staging the Olympics, the IOC wound up with just two finalists and pressure to reform the entire process of bidding for and putting on the Games.


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