(TibetanReview.net, Feb02’22) – China and the International Olympic Committee’s strongest response to calls for the boycott of the Beijing Winter Games 2022 is that the global sporting event should not be politicized. Well, China has brought politics right to the head of it by making its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiment commander Lt Col Qi Fabao a relay torchbearer for the event. He was reported to have been in a coma after sustaining head injuries during the Galwan Valley clash with Indian troops on Jun 15 night in 2020 and was made an ethical role model of the nation for it.
China is particularly sensitive to any mention of the Galwan Valley clash in which it claimed the death of only four of its soldiers against India’s 20. It was the first violent incident between two Armies since 1967. Last year, it sentenced a Chinese internet celebrity to eight months in jail for “defaming” Chinese soldiers killed in the standoff with Indian troops.
And on New Year, China released a propaganda video of PLA soldiers unfurling their national flag in the region, following which it further tried to get public support over the standoff and offered stones from Galwan Valley to lucky netizens on Feb 1.
China’s official Global Times daily said Fabao received the flame from four-time Olympic short track speed skating champion Wang Meng at the Winter Olympic Park.
India, though having expressed support for the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022, is not sending any minister for the Opening Ceremony, which will be a lineup of who’s who of authoritarian leaders, as noted by a sports.yahoo.com report Jan 29.
The journey of the torch commenced in October last year with activists hoisting banners accusing China of human rights abuses at the flame-lighting ceremony in the Olympic spiritual homeland of Greece. There are around 1800 torchbearers, including 1200 for the Winter Olympic Games and 600 for the Paralympic Games.
Themed as ‘Let us meet at the rendezvous of ice and snow; let us run towards a shared, brighter future’, the relay’s final, China journey commenced on Feb 2 and will culminate on Feb 4, across the three competition zones, including one in the heart of a supposedly protected nature reserve.