The Olympic flame walks along the Great Wall before the start of Beijing-2022

The Olympic flame was paraded on the Great Wall of China on Thursday. The organizers of the Beijing-2022 Winter Olympics decided that it should go through the quintessential symbol of the Asian country, one day before the opening ceremony of an event marked by the threat of the epidemic and political tensions.

In its short journey through China, the Olympic flame arrived on Thursday from the hand of Jackie Chan at the Great Wall.

More than 1,000 people began to take turns to carry the flame through the different sites that are to host the competitions, in Beijing and in the city of Zhangjiakou, before the opening ceremony, on Friday at the Olympic stadium, the famous ‘Nest of the Bird’.

Jackie Chang with the torch

The flame reached Badaling, one of the sections of the Great Wall closest to Beijing (75 km), and Hong Kong kung-fu actor Jackie Chan, who had participated in the relay in 2008 at the Beijing Summer Games, he carried the torch again.

"I am so proud to carry the flame a second time"said the movie star.

The involvement of a Chinese soldier, implicated in a deadly 2020 standoff with India, on a disputed border in the Himalayas, triggered an outcry from Indian authorities.

The combat had caused the death of at least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers.

The journey of the flame began in October at the site of ancient Olympia. The ceremony was disrupted on that occasion by pro-Tibet protesters who accuse China of human rights violations.

To denounce the attacks on fundamental rights, several countries, including the United States, do not send political personalities to the Games, but their athletes will participate in the competitions.

Putin in Beijing

In response to this boycott, the communist regime published last week a list of twenty world leaders who will be present at the Games, with Vladimir Putin at the forefront, after being the center of world attention due to fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Coincidence or not, Russia was engaged in another armed conflict with Georgia, another pro-Western former Soviet republic, at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The Kremlin on Wednesday claimed China’s support for its demands on the West, ahead of a meeting between Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Games.

At the end of January, the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, had given his support to the "reasonable concerns" of Moscow regarding Ukraine.

In this tense context, the Ukrainian government asked its athletes not to fraternize with the Russians at the Games.

Beijing-2022 receives 92 delegations and 2,892 participants. Due to the epidemic, they are confined to a health bubble and are subjected to daily anti-Covid tests, with almost 300 positive cases so far.

Bach defends Beijing-2022 neutrality

At the same time, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held its 139th congress in Beijing, and its president, Germany’s Thomas Bach, attempted to quell controversy over the event, praising its "inheritance" and defending its political neutrality.

"Today we can say that China is a winter sports country"assured.

According to the German leader, the organizing country "has already written history, exceeding the goal of familiarizing 300 million of its citizens with the practice of snow and ice specialties"which"will forever change the importance of winter sports".

these games "have strong support from the international community"stated Thomas Bach, recalling the unanimous adoption of a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly decreeing the Olympic truce.

Later, at a press conference, Bach assured that the Olympic instance "will support" to the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai if she demands the opening of an investigation into the accusations of forced sexual relationship that she made against a former Chinese leader.

"If you want an investigation (into these accusations), we will certainly support it, but it must be your decision, it is your life, it is your accusations"the German pointed out.

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