Beijing seals off several communities over two cases of Covid-19

As the Winter Olympics nears, the Chinese capital has locked down some neighbourhoods and is setting up 19 testing points

Beijing officials have sealed off several residential communities north of the city centre after two cases of Covid-19 were found as the Chinese capital prepares to host the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday.

Another 34 cases were confirmed among athletes and others who have come for the Games, the organising committee said. In all, 211 people have tested positive among more than 8,000 who had arrived by the end of Saturday. They include a Swedish cross-country skier and a snowboarder from Slovenia.

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Sport, politics and Covid collide at the Beijing Winter Olympics

The Games will open on Friday in a country that hopes sport will be the talking point. But political twists or a resurgent virus could leave the event skating on thin ice

Hosting the Winter Olympics during a pandemic was always going to test the Chinese government, by putting its ever-growing ability to exercise political control and virus containment on a collision course with its enthusiasm for international prestige and status.

The 2022 Winter Games, which open on Friday, are being held at a time of particularly intense western criticism of China over human rights abuses, from the mass persecution of Uyghurs in far western Xinjiang – labelled a genocide by the United States – and other groups including Tibetans, to the crushing of Hong Kong’s freedoms.

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Beijing Winter Olympics reports jump in daily Covid cases

Number of infections rises by 19 as Games organisers warn of more cases in coming days

China has reported a jump in Covid cases among athletes and team officials at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The number of daily Covid infections rose to 19 on Friday from two a day earlier, and Games organisers said more cases could be expected in the coming days.

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Should athletes be worried about flaws in China’s Olympics app?

A report found the app that will be used to monitor athletes’ health and travel data has a ‘devastating’ encryption flaw

With the Beijing Olympics just weeks away, concerns are mounting over a mandatory health app for competing athletes, after a new report revealed the app contains security flaws and a list of “politically sensitive” words that have been marked for censorship.

The report, published by University of Toronto’s research and strategic policy unit Citizen Lab, found that the My2022 app, which will be used to monitor athletes’ health and travel data, has a “devastating” encryption flaw that leaves users’ files and media vulnerable.

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Beijing authorities conduct mass Covid testing as cases rise before Olympics

All residents of Fengtai district told to get nucleic acid tests as China’s capital rushes to contain Omicron outbreak

Beijing’s city government has introduced new measures to contain a recent outbreak of Covid-19, as China’s capital continued to report new local cases of the virus less than two weeks before it hosts the Winter Olympic Games.

Nine locally transmitted cases were found in Beijing on 22 January, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Sunday, of which six were in the city’s Fengtai district.

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China hires western TikTokers to polish its image during 2022 Winter Olympics

Influencers told to extol country’s virtues on social media despite diplomatic boycotts of Beijing Games over human rights record

An army of western social media influencers, each with hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok, Instagram or Twitch, is set to spread positive stories about China throughout next month’s Winter Olympics.

Concerned about the international backlash against the Beijing Games amid a wave of diplomatic boycotts, the government has hired western PR professionals to spread an alternative narrative through social media.

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Beijing reports its first locally transmitted Omicron variant case

Case comes city finalises preparation to host Winter Olympics, which start in three weeks

The Chinese capital, Beijing, has reported its first locally transmitted case of Omicron coronavirus variant, state media reported on Saturday, less than three weeks before the Beijing Olympic Winter Games.

An official at the city’s disease control authority said at a press conference that laboratory testing found “mutations specific to the Omicron variant” in the person. The authorities have since published detailed account of the patient’s activity that dates back to 31 December.

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China battles Omicron outbreak weeks before Winter Olympics

Cases of Covid variant come in run-up to lunar new year, when millions of people usually travel to see family

China is battling to stamp out its first outbreak of the Omicron variant, only weeks before the Chinese new year and the Beijing Winter Olympics, with cases recorded in at least two distant provinces.

On Monday, health authorities reported 97 new locally transmitted cases for the preceding 24 hours, across several cities. At least 30 cases were in Henan province, while at least 31 new cases were reported in the Tianjin, including 15 children aged five to 15.

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Mind Games: how China’s confidence soared between two Olympics

The international context and mood music are very different 14 years after the Beijing Summer Games

Spectacular fireworks lit up the summer sky and the air filled with the smell of sulphur as trails of smoke descended on the crowds in Tiananmen Square. The throng cheered enthusiastically. “Go Beijing, go China, go Olympics,” they chanted. The collective pride was palpable.

It was shortly after the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics, which began at 8.08pm local time on 8 August 2008; the Chinese believe eight is an auspicious number. That evening, Chinese-American Kaiser Kuo was watching from the balcony of his apartment in eastern Beijing. “It was meant to be impressive, and watching as a Chinese person, it certainly was: all the pageantry of history, the flawless performances, the grand scale,” Kuo says.

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