Explainer-in brief: A Winter games of politics and controversy
Last Friday, the Beijing Winter Olympics kicked off with a whirl of lights and colour. But it was also surrounded by a storm of controversy which threatens to overshadow the games.
A handful of nations, including the US and the UK, have staged a diplomatic boycott of the event (meaning athletes, but no officials will attend) as a result of human rights abuse in Xinjiang and power grabs in Hong Kong. India launched a last-minute diplomatic boycott after a commander involved in clashes on the border between the two countries was chosen as a torchbearer in the customary torch relay leading up to the games.
The continued disappearance of tennis player Peng Shuai, who hasn’t been seen publicly since she accused a top member of the Communist Party of sexual assault, has also cast a shadow over the games.
The city has also been cast in an eerie silence as China has attempted to maintain a policy of Covid-19 elimination, even as athletes and other guests flood into Beijing.