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Beijing 2022 – Paralympic Wintergames

Despite all the joy about the strong performance of the German team, the Beijing 2022 – Paralympic Wintergames in Beijing were a tour de force. The war against Ukraine, a controversial host and the pandemic weighed on the mood. In the end, IPC chief Parsons was censored again in China’s state media.Overshadowed by the Ukraine war and the Corona pandemic, the Paralympic Winter Games came to an end Sunday in Beijing with a symbolic closing ceremony. In his speech, International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons praised the „brilliant achievements of athletes in the most difficult times.“ He thanked the Chinese organizers for „breathtaking, safe and spectacular Games.“ Host China has „set the standard for all future Winter Games“ and is now „a Paralympic winter sports powerhouse,“ Parsons said.German athletes celebrated their unexpectedly strong showing after winning 19 medals, the same number as four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea, albeit fewer golds. Germany finished seventh in the medal table. However, because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the restricted life in the hermetically sealed Corona bubble, the mood was at times depressed during the Games. After fierce controversies, the teams from Russia and Belarus had been excluded beforehand.The head of the Paralympics, who had vented his indignation about the Ukraine war at the opening of the Games, was rather reserved at the end. In his speech at China’s national stadium, dubbed the „Bird’s Nest,“ the IPC president did not specifically mention the Ukraine war. He described the athletes as „champions of peace whose actions spoke louder than words.“ The Games, he said, had inspired hope for „inclusion, for harmony and, above all, for peace.“ Humanity, he said, wants to „live in a world of dialogue.“Despite the few political allusions, his speech was again censored in the state television translation, as at the opening, by paraphrasing and avoiding the word „peace.“ Instead of „in the most difficult times,“ the translator said that the athletes themselves had „overcome difficulties,“ which is more likely to refer to personal efforts. „Hopes for peace“ was translated as „hopes to become one big family.“ The phrase „champions of peace“ was completely absent. This fits with the fact that state media in China avoid words like „war“ in Ukraine or „invasion“ and, as in Russia, speak only of „special military operation.“

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