While Beijing is still cheering over winning the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, Zhangjiakou, the co-host city where all the snow events will be held, has already felt the pressure to improve the city in many aspects, although the Games is still seven years away.
Though it is a third-tier city, Zhangjiakou still has a lot to be proud of when compared with Beijing, the Chinese capital. It was actually Zhangjiakou that "initiated" the idea to bid for the Winter Olympics as early as 2005, a plan most people considered "unrealistic," according to Zhang Chunsheng, executive director of the Office of Bidding for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Zhangjiakou.
"Zhangjiakou does not have to feel inferior because without it, Beijing could not even have launched the bid, since the mountains in Beijing's prefecture do not meet the IOC standard for the Winter Olympics," said Zhang at the Charhar Roundtable: Image and Internationalization of Olympic Host Cities held in Zhangjiakou's Shangyi County.
He summarized Zhangjiakou's development objectives as: upgrading the industrial structure, accelerating renewable energy sectors, stepping up municipal governance, and improve local people's livelihoods, while the Winter Olympics will set off a craze of infrastructure investment.
Zhang said that time is racing towards them, though the remaining 2300 or so days seem to be enough to complete all the infrastructure constructions. "Every second is important until then," he said, adding that things that seem easy in Beijing– such as construction and coordination – are usually more difficult in the small city.
A Time magazine report dated July 31 said that China's winning candidacy for the 2022 Winter Olympics was "uninspiring," as Beijing and the "lesser-known Chinese city of Zhangjiakou," tried to convince the IOC that the "bad air – not to mention lack of natural snow" would not affect the athletes.
But the report, apart from neglecting Beijing's efforts to curb air pollution, did not seem to check Zhangjiakou's air quality and its winter climate. Zhangjiakou is among the cities north of the Yangtze River with the best air quality. "Our air quality absolutely meets the standard," said Zhang.
Snowfall in Zhangjiakou is abundant, according to meteorological records, thanks to the city's unique geographic location and higher elevation. Even so, all international snow events demand man-made snow to ensure the shape of the snowfield for fair play.
While Zhangjiakou is hectically upgrading its visible facilities – sporting venues, accommodation and medical services – and its 'invisible' capabilities, such as international-oriented publicity are something that experts have underscored.
"In shaping an internationalized city, foreign-oriented publicity should be given a first priority," said Huang Youyi, secretary-general of the International Advisory Committee of the Charhar Institute. Huang used to be vice president and editor-in-chief of the China International Publishing Group (CIPG).
Huang advised Zhangjiakou to consider issues related to the 2022 Winter Olympics in the international context, and emphasize the city's cultural appeal to fend off an excessive commercial atmosphere. He also urged local government to positively "lead" public opinions so that Zhangjiakou could have a better image in the international media.
Taken from China.org.cn