Covid-19 in China: top-tier sporting events on hold in countdown to Communist Party’s national congress

covid-19 in china: top-tier sporting events on hold in countdown to communist party’s national congress

Two major sporting events in China have been postponed and another cancelled, with observers pointing to concerns about Covid-19 in the run-up to the Communist Party’s national congress.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said on Friday that the 2022 Asian Games scheduled to be held in Hangzhou in September would be postponed until next year.

“The Olympic Council of Asia has announced that the 19th Asian Games, originally scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10 to 25, 2022, will be postponed,” the council said.

New dates for the sporting contest “will be announced at a later date”.

In early April, Hangzhou organisers said all 56 competition venues for the games had been completed and test events were continuing as the city prepared to host more than 11,000 athletes from 44 nations and territories.

The OCA said on Friday that the decision “was taken by all the stakeholders after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the games”.

It also said the Asian Youth Games to be held in Shantou in December would be cancelled, having already been delayed once.

Hangzhou-based political analyst Wen Kejian said that with just months to go until the party congress in the autumn, the main reason for the delay to the Asian Games was Covid-19 prevention and control.

“The outbreak and situation in Shanghai is a lesson learned and put officials [in Hangzhou] under a lot of pressure not to let the situation get out of hand,” Wen said.

In late March, Shanghai entered a sudden lockdown with its 25 million residents being ordered to stay home. Restrictions remain in force across large parts of the city.

It comes as Beijing prepares to host the five-yearly gathering of top party leaders, at which President Xi Jinping is expected to start an unprecedented third term as party leader.

As part of those preparations, authorities have been ordered to remove any potential social and political risks.

Also on Friday, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) announced that the World University Games, which were due to start in Chengdu in late June, would be postponed for a second time until next year.

The announcement confirmed a South China Morning Post report on Thursday that the event had been put on hold, with sources saying that promotional work had stopped and volunteers told to stand down.

Acting FISU president Leonz Eder said the decision to reschedule the event was “the right decision for university athletes”.

“Their welfare is always our number one priority. Continued uncertainty over conditions has made rescheduling the sensible choice,” Eder said.

“The FISU is confident that this decision will enable the greatest possible number of university athletes to attend next year.”

China has been struggling with a new wave of Covid-19 driven by the Omicron variant.

Wen said that to prevent transmission of the coronavirus, Hangzhou had been expected to adopt the “closed-loop” model of containment used at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.

Organisers would create a virus-free bubble separating participants from the community but the Asian Games involved more events and venues in other cities, making the system tougher to apply.

“Hangzhou authorities have already spent hundreds of billions of yuan on construction, and they also hope to hold it,” he said.

But if there was no change to China’s zero-Covid policy, it might be difficult to host even next year, Wen said.

“If it is postponed again, it will clash with the next one,” he said.

Mark Dreyer, a Beijing-based sports commentator and author of the book Sporting Superpower, also said that the timing of the Asian Games so close to the congress was a factor.

“Obviously if there’s negative news about Covid-related event just ahead of what’s supposed to be a positive event, the timing is bad,” he said.

Dreyer said the Asian Games paled in significance to the Winter Olympics and the risk of hosting it was not worth it under existing conditions.

“When Beijing hosted the Winter Olympics, it was almost entirely free of Covid,” he said. “Hangzhou has had on-and-off outbreaks for a couple months at this point.”

He said coordination for the Asian Games was more complex, with the event involving more athletes and more people coming from outside the country.

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Palay-Palay  National ParkAbout PagudpudFive Levels of Aguinid FallsIntroducing San Pascual, MasbateMount Manmanoc ItineraryAdventures in Fortune Island of Nasugbu | LakwatseroNext Level Mobile Photography with Sony Xperia XZ1 | LakwatseroScuba Diving in Siargao: Discovering the Underwater Treasures of Daku Island | LakwatseroAbout Davao CityHow to Get to AndaJanuary: Cebu & IloiloHow to Get to Mines View ParkKamay ni Hesus: Pilgrimage Site in Lucban | LakwatseroPoon Hill: Three Days of Himalayan AdventureCalvary Hill Cemetery of SagadaHow to Get to TambobongMilford SoundTen Things To Do in Sagada: Bucket List for NewbiesDahoyhoy FallsPilot for a Day: The Ultra Light Aircraft Experience | LakwatseroReal Coffee and Tea Cafe of Boracay | LakwatseroGhorepani Poon Hill TrekAbout Maniwaya IslandHow to Get to Binanga FallsPalo Alto Falls of Baras, Rizal | LakwatseroExplore Moscow: Best Things to Do in the City | LakwatseroStairway to HeavenMount Guiting-Guiting Overnight Trek Complete ItineraryCape Melville LighthouseLa Cathedral Café: Restaurant with a View in IntramurosKapurpurawan Rock Formation: White and BeautifulDay Hike ItineraryThe Sandbox at AlvieraHow to go to Mararison IslandA Weekend of Adventures in South Cebu and DumagueteCalayan Island: A Virtual Diary of Our Epic Journey | LakwatseroFaro de Isla Jintotolo (Jintotolo Island Lighthouse)Low’s PeakAbout Taal VolcanoHow to Get to Mag-aso Falls of BoholSamar: Biri Rock Formations Up Close | LakwatseroBonbon BeachIntroducing Jomalig IslandAbout Cotabato CityAbout TabukLeyte Landing Memorial: A Memorial for a Fulfilled Promise | LakwatseroSilyang Bato, Mount MaramiPanimahawa Ridge and Cedar Falls Day Hike ItineraryFun in the World’s Best IslandSample Albay ItinerariesMagpupungko Beach and Tidal Pools6 Tips for Living in the Philippines | LakwatseroDaraga Church: The Nuestra Señora dela Porteria ChurchTulgao Rice TerracesCape Melville Lighthouse (Faro del Cabo Melville)Canyoneering to Kawasan FallsLake FewaLong Weekend: Five-Day Suggested Itineraries in Luzon | LakwatseroAbout CaponesThe Wichcraft Café of Zamboanga City | LakwatseroHow to Get to GuiuanAll-Female FloorHow to Get to Neri’s VilleDiotay’s EateryShort but Sweet Melaka Getaway | LakwatseroHow to Get to Tinuy-An FallsOslob: The Lost Grandeur of Tumalog Falls | LakwatseroIlocos ItineraryDitumabo Falls: The Mother Falls of San Luis, Aurora!Biking in Kalinga: Trek and Bike to TabukParadise Garden: A Haven for Sea TurtlesSiargao: Magpupungko Beach and Tidal Pools | LakwatseroAbout Bucas GrandeCoral GardenSagadaA Walk in Sangay Siapo Island Before it is Gone? | LakwatseroAmbaguio-Akiki ItineraryCorregidor Island Lighthouse (Faro dela Isla de Corregidor)Faro de Punta de Malabrigo (Malabrigo Point Lighthouse)About CulionNaidi Hill LighthouseBoquete IslandHow to Commute to Temple of LeahCatanduanes: The Heritage Church of Bato | Lakwatsero1. White Water Rafting or KayakingMount Fuji Overnight Climb ItinerarySip & Gogh Paint Studio: Unleash Your Inner Van Gogh | LakwatseroBatanes ItineraryHow to Get to Quitinday HillsAbout Callao CaveDiscover LakawonBiking to Taal: A Fun Ride to Batangas’ Heritage TownAntique Blooming: The Rafflesia of San RemigioMalasimbo Lights and Dance FestivalBacolod ItineraryPoon HillAttractions in Mirador Heritage and Eco ParkHulhumale Public BeachRomblon Island: Bonbon Beach, Tiamban Beach & MoreAdventure in Sabah: White Water Rafting in Padas River | LakwatseroHow to Get to Hinakpan Mystical HillsWelcome to Lake SebuAbout CasiguranAbout BuscalanHow to Go to Kalanggaman IslandFaro de Cabo Bojeador (Cape Bojeador Lighthouse)Backpacking Maldives: Budget Itinerary, Expenses & TipsHow to Get ThereOffbeat Bohol Itinerary: 3D/2N of AdventuresHow to Get to Tawi-TawiAlona BeachPangilatan Falls: The Forgotten Gem of Tapaz, CapizWorld War I: SMS Cormoran II3D/2N Taiwan Itinerary: Taipei – Yehliu – ShiffenLaos for Backpackers: Getting There on a BudgetBasic RequirementsHow to Get to Antong FallsCathedral CaveHow to Go to Gubat, SorsogonAbout SadangaHow to Get to Bugui Point LighthouseHow to Get to Cabra Island LighthouseCebu Itinerary: Three-Day Adventures in the SouthAbout AndaLuna: A Day in the Show Window of Apayao | LakwatseroMargues Blue LagoonFinding Palaui’s Cape Engaño Lighthouse | LakwatseroHow to Get to Mantayupan Falls of Barili, CebuHow to Get to MaligcongLinapacan Islands: Between Paradise | LakwatseroKLIA to KLCCHow to Get to JomaligBanaug ShoalEspadang Bato – Payaran Falls Day Hike Itinerary10 Remarkable Philippine Destinations for Solo TravelMiagao Church: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in IloiloAbout Carbin ReefAbout Parola IslandCabra WreckageCobra Falls: Ozamiz City’s Best Kept SecretBasco: The Chapel on the Hill of Tukon | LakwatseroBack in Kathmandu’s Lovely Mess | LakwatseroHimalayan Adventure: Kathmandu to Pokhara Overland | LakwatseroItineraryChinatown Vancouver (Stop #23)Situbo Falls: Tampilisan's Awesome SurpriseHow to Get to Inambakan FallsTuasan Falls: Another Camiguin’s Charmer | LakwatseroHow to Get to Lake SebuMarinduque Loop: Biking in the Heart of the Philippines1. 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