Artists perform during the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games 100 Day countdown event at the National Aquatic Centre, also known as the Ice cube, in Beijing on November 24, 2021.

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In 70 days, Beijing will host 2022 Winter Olympic Games. It will be 70 years then since the People’s Republic of China competed in Olympics for the first time. The 70 years of Olympic ties will soon be renewed in Beijing 70 days later.

70 years ago, it was in Helsinki that the Olympic flame was ignited. It was the first Olympics after the World War II, the first time for Finland as the host and the first time for China as a player, making China and Finland connected to each other in Olympics and sports for the first time.

Back at that time, Finland was one of the first Western countries to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with China. Finland showcased a truly global vision to invite China to the Olympics;China, for its part, made a quick decision to go despite of time pressure and other difficulties. In the end, the debut of the Chinese delegation with the Five-Starred Red Flag became a widely told story in China’s Olympic history and China-Finland relations.

Flag of the Chinese delegation in Otaniemi, Helsinki - 1952

 

In recent years, 70 seems to be a lucky number for China-Finland relations, marking good years and news. The year 2019 was the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and the China-Finland year of winter sports. The latter, agreed by the two heads of state during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Finland, was the first ever theme year featuring sports between China and other countries. Splendid moments were nonstop throughout the whole year. Starting with the state visit of President Sauli Niinistö to China and the opening ceremony in Beijing, there were over 60 programs held and more than 20 agreements reached in the year. Additionally, Finland participated as Guest of Honor in World Winter Sports (Beijing) EXPO 2019. Winter sports has become a highlight and impetus in bilateral cooperation.

The year 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Finland. Although unexpected COVID-19 pandemic has affected the scheduled agenda, the two countries and peoples still managed to carry forward exchanges and cooperation, with support and caring for each other. Particularly, our cooperation in Olympics and sports progressed steadily even in such hard times. This summer, China national ski jumping team came to Finland for training and competitions in preparation for Beijing Olympics. Just days ago, China cross-country skiing athletes returned to Vuokatti training center after the outbreak of the pandemic. I hope that 70 days later, all their hard work will pay off.

Recently, we have witnessed big moments of the arrival of the Olympic flame in Beijing, the 100-day countdown to Beijing 2022, and the release of the medals and uniforms of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The first version of Beijing 2022 Playbooks have been published, as the basis of the game plan to ensure that all participants stay safe and healthy. In the G20 Rome Leaders' Declaration, G20 leaders said they "look ahead to Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics 2022, as opportunities for competition for athletes from around the world, which serves as a symbol of humanity's resilience".

The Chinese football team had a friendly match with the Finnish team, 1952

In a time span of 70 years, China made its debut in Olympics and has Beijing the first ever city to host both summer and winter Olympics. It is believed that in 70 days, a simple, safe and wonderful Olympic Games will be delivered to the world. Let’s carry forward the Olympic spirit of “Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together” for a Shared Future. Beijing is ready for Olympic athletes from Finland and all over the world.

 

Chen Li

Ambassador of People's Republic of China in Finland

 

 

 


This is a "Viewpoint" opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of The Helsinki Times.