Bearing of Olympic torch by Uygur athlete mirrors true Xinjiang

By Md Enamul Hassan (People's Daily Online) 17:19, February 17, 2022

Torch bearers Dinigeer Yilamujiang (L) and Zhao Jiawen attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at the National Stadium in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 4, 2022. (Xinhua/Xu Zijian)

After rising to all of the challenges posed by the coronavirus and US meddling, China successfully launched the Beijing Winter Olympics at the country's National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in grand style. Beijing presented a mesmerizing spectacle for the whole world to behold as it marked the opening of the Games, with all eyes fixated on the capital of China to watch the Olympic extravaganza.

The much-awaited opener was a tremendous cultural and political success for China. From a cultural perspective, the stunning ceremony showcased China’s winter culture and modern history to the world. The fabulous show was globally hailed as an audio-visual feast for its aesthetics as performances perfectly portrayed the ordinary life, culture, history, traditions, and low-carbon philosophy of China.

From a political perspective, the ceremony was a huge victory for China and similarly a huge loss for the US and its allies. There is no denying that as part of their all-out war to cripple China, these American-led bloc of allies have long been trying to mar the successful organization of the Olympics by China. They unilaterally decided not to send any officials to the Olympics, and that was despite China confirming that it never invited the US delegates to attend anyways.

The US has also exerted its leverage over different countries to impel them to follow suit, but the world in the end did not join the US in its so-called diplomatic boycott of the Olympics, with the Americans having eventually been sidelined over the issue in the global community. This has just gone to show how much lower the US is willing to stoop to deter its Chinese counterpart.

Despite the American frowns and a wild surge of Omicron infections all over the world, a total of 32 foreign heads of state, heads of government, members of royal families, and heads of international organizations joined Chinese President Xi Jinping at his side to personally witness the spectacular opening ceremony of the Winter Games in Beijing.

Analysts are of the view that the presence of such a large number of foreign leaders represented an unprecedented high-level gathering of top leaders offline, at least since the start of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The gathering underscored China's capacity for unifying others amidst a challenging time, while also signaling the widely shared support and expectations of the global community for the Olympic Games. Moreover, it completely defied the weakened voices of the US-led Western clique in their calls for a "diplomatic boycott."

I firmly believe that such a huge gathering of world leaders, and despite US pressures and a wild surge of Omicron infections across the globe, demonstrates the calculative and mature diplomacy of China. The Chinese policy of putting humanity first and extending its helping hands towards the world during a period of immense struggle in the face of the pandemic has significantly paid off, and world leaders have finally rallied behind President Xi Jinping against all odds and difficulties.

The gathering is also a strong reaction to the tactics deployed by the US to call for a "boycott" of the Games, highlighting the failure and unpopularity of the Americans and their country's approach to diplomacy.

Such a remarkable victory by China has made the US and its allies unhappy and they have brazenly made one of the bearers of the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony, a Uygur athlete, a target of controversy to distract global attention from the host country's own achievements. They have also tried in vain to taint China's success by playing identity politics, ascribing a narrow communal color to the selection of Dinigeer Yilamujiang as a Uygur torchbearer while disregarding her identity as a Chinese national and a human being – all while the US still claims to somehow be the paramount protector of human rights on the planet.

China selected Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a Uygur cross country skier born in Xinjiang, as one of the two final torchbearers who ended the Olympic opening ceremony after sending a flame into the sky atop a giant snowflake. In the end, however, the US and its allies accused China of politicizing the games for its selection of Yilamujiang as a final torchbearer.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that "this is an effort by the Chinese to distract us from the real issue here at hand." However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) welcomed and defended the decision of China to select her as one of the torchbearers during the opening ceremony and insisted that since she was one of the participants in the Games, she had the right to compete and take part in the ceremony.

Analysts are of the view that the selection of Yilamujiang was not an effort to distract attention from the real issue, but rather it was used by the US and its allies to try to distract global attention away from China's achievements by politicizing the matter. The selection has revealed the true conditions in Xinjiang before the eyes of the world and provided witness to the fact that the American-led bloc of allies have lost their sense of what is within the bounds of reason. Their remarks are motivated by a pure jealousy for the feats that China and its people have been able to achieve. In a fit of envy, they have overlooked the fact that China has bestowed honor on the Uygur people by selecting the athlete for the important role of bearing the Olympic torch.

People had been taken aback upon hearing that the US was blaming China for politicizing the games while the superpower itself continued to trample across all the boundaries of political decency and diplomatic etiquette by making the games nothing more than a political and propaganda tool to wield against China. The US has once again revealed its true colors to the world by absurdly construing the selection of Yilamujiang as a torchbearer with the issue of human rights. Analysts think that the US has proved the hollowness of their claims of so-called persecutions in Xinjiang, which has put the superpower to shame.

In my eyes, the selection of Yilamujiang proves the nondiscriminatory stance of China and its emphasis on putting minorities and humanity first. The one-off incident speaks volumes about how the ethnic minorities of China are being treated by the Chinese state. Though the move is being criticized by anti-China forces abroad, her selection is actually a rare eye-opening case for the truth-seeking people of the world. Her selection mirrors the vast success China has achieved in Xinjiang – it has shown how privileged the ethnic minorities of China, especially in Xinjiang, indeed are.

Md Enamul Hassan is a news editor at the China Media Group (CMG) in Beijing, China. 

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Du Mingming)


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