by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Randall Forsyth of Barron’s explores the recent decision to award Beijing the 2022 Winter Olympics.
No cold, no snow? No problem!
That in essence was what Chinese officials must have told the International Olympic Committee to persuade it to award the 2022 Winter Games to Beijing. Evidently, the spectacular success of the 2008 Summer Games gave the IOC confidence that China could repeat that feat 14 years later, giving Beijing the distinction of being the only venue ever to be chosen for both international games.
Those Summer Games had the great fortune to begin on Aug. 8, 2008—or 8/8/08, a triple play on the good luck number in Chinese numerology—and merely required a temporary cleanup of the notoriously polluted environment in order to permit outdoor competition and to put on a spectacular show for the world.
The same evidently can’t be said for China’s fellow BRIC country, Brazil. The Associated Press last week reported that competitors in swimming and boating in next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro face almost certain illness from polluted local waters—as if the nation didn’t face enough problems already from political scandals, inflation, recession, and a plunging currency.
To be sure, Chinese Olympic officials will have their work cut out for them in 2022. While some of the facilities from the 2008 Summer Games can be repurposed for winter sports, there is the small matter of making snow for skiing events, which will be staged in mountains some 90 miles from the capital city. Even though there is little if any natural snow and little water there, Beijing evidently promised it would make the necessary white stuff. That was apparently sufficient to beat out the only rival bid, from Kazakhstan.
Chinese officials appeared undaunted by that task even while they have their hands a bit full at the moment with the collapse in their stock markets. The Shanghai Composite took another tumble of some 8.5% last Monday, but managed to pull out of that nosedive into a mere downward glide. But despite the billions pumped into the market through monetary easing and direct injections into equities, the Shanghai benchmark still ended the week down 10% and off 14% for July, the biggest drop since August 2009.