• 19 May, 2022
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Success or Failure: Beijing Winter Olympics Is Bad News for the World

Cdr Sandeep Dhawan (Retd) Tue, 08 Feb 2022   |  Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fourteen years ago, China conducted the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The games were a success, and the biggest beneficiary was Xi Jinping. He was Vice President of China and competing for the presidency with present Premier Li Keqiang. The successful Chinese Olympics debut encouraged and emboldened Xi in grabbing power. He had just learned to master the art of seizing the moment.

China has one party and two major factions. The Shanghai Gang constitutes people who rose to stature due to their association with Jiang Zemin. Xi developed connections with them while he was in Shanghai. Chinese Communist Youth League (CCYL) is another faction that came to prominence with the rise of Hu Jintao. Hu was appointed General Secretary of the CCP and China’s President in 2002, replacing Jiang Zemin.

Xi was a princeling and son of a high-ranking People’s Liberation Army General. He had family ties with Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction. In 2012 when the time to replace Hu Jintao came, the CCP had two choices, the Shanghai gang’s choice Xi Jinping and Hu Jintao prodégé Li Keqian. Xi seemed to be more market-friendly and focused on protecting wealth better than Hu Jintao-affiliated comrades. However, Xi kept his cards close to his heart without disclosing how he would act economically or politically. This opaqueness contributed to his favourable reputation among both factions and facilitated his rise to the General Secretary’s post.

2022 Olympics and The Stakes

The bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games closed on 14 November 2013, with six cities in the fray. Oslo (Norway), Stockholm (Sweden), Krakow (Poland), Beijing (China), Lviv (Ukraine), and Almaty (Kazakhstan) were jostling to get a favourable result.

Surprisingly by the time the International Olympic Committee (IOC) elected the host city in July 2015, four out of six cities had withdrawn from the bidding. After spending millions on the bidding process, the withdrawing cities gave reasons like the rising costs of the Games and a lack of public support. What transpired behind the curtains is anyone’s guess. It is hilarious that finally, the 55th largest economy was challenging the second largest economy in the world. Or was it a fixed match? Beijing was, of course, the winner, and the rest is history.

What If Xi Gets Gold In Winter Olympics

From 1992 to 2014, four out of seven cities have lost money while organizing the Winter Olympics. As per a study conducted by Oxford University, the average cost overrun was 125.1 percent in the past seven Winter Olympics. Xi Jinping is not bothered even if the Beijing Olympics set another record.

Xi hasn’t planned the games because he loves skiing; it is all about consolidating his power. China never had any outstanding performers and ranked 16th on the medal table in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Beijing Olympics also do not show much hope, either. China’s ice hockey team has been in disarray. To salvage its reputation, China had to go on a buying spree. Today the team consists of mostly foreign players, eleven Canadian, three Americans, and a Russian. Only nine out of 24 players are Chinese.

Xi Jinping is so desperate to put up a great show that the Chinese diplomats aided in the defection of an 18-year-old American skier Eileen Gu. She was born and bred in the United States, but suddenly she became responsible for her mother’s country of origin, China, and received a higher call to help inspire millions of young people.

China is also splurging millions on social media influencers. In one such deal in January 2022, the Chinese government hired the US PR firm Vippi Media and paid $3,00,000. Their task was to enlist the influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers across social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) unleased the Coronavirus on the world, they had not anticipated it would last for so long. The idea was to demonstrate that while the whole world had failed in front of Coronavirus, their medical systems fell apart, and economies plunged; China, with its superior system and technology, was able to recover and conduct a world-class event. The most important aspect of the Games was to have a lasting impact on the Chinese domestic audience. Of course, the world would have also looked up to China in awe.

Xi himself had made numerous inspection trips to the facilities in the hills of Beijing, indicating his eagerness and anxiety. Could the Chinese officials blinded by their desire to please the master and emerge victorious infect the visiting athletes? The Coronavirus has already infected over 200 athletes. Every foreign athlete going down brightens China’s chance to improve its medal tally. Emboldened Xi, with this fake and staged success, would come down heavily on his opponents and rival factions.

What If Xi Gets Booted Out

Xi doesn’t want anything coming in the path of successful Olympics. No protests, no demonstrations, or bad press, nothing. That also explains his “Zero COVID” strategy. Xi knows, before his time, it was always a collective decision; therefore, no individual leader was ever blamed for any failure. Each faction or group colluded with each other in the party’s name.

Things are different now. Xi absorbed every power centre into himself. In the name of the anti-corruption campaign, he has purged every opposition. Now Xi is the party, and the party is Xi. But in that process, he made himself accountable. Opposing factions must be down but not out. They closely observe bursting property bubbles, tumbling tech giants, mounting external debt, a stagnant economy, food shortages, and frayed international relations. As per the latest census and survey, China’s population will decline by 60 to 70 percent in the next 45 years. Xi has no answers for these issues. Opposition is sharpening their knives and waiting for his wrong moves. Yes-men change their loyalties keeping in mind which side the winds are blowing.

In 2012, Xi knew that he was not anyone’s first choice in the Shanghai faction or the CCYL. He was like, IK Gujral, Prime Minister of India, a compromise General Secretary. Since Xi was without any base, he made PLA his base. He took the support of the hawks in the PLA and purged Generals and Admirals who came in his path. The problem is that it is not clear if Xi controls the PLA or PLA controls Xi. One thing is amply clear, either PLA is running the show, or Xi is letting them run the show for his sake. PLA’s imprints on diplomacy are apparent. Their methods are fast replacing diplomacy with sharp power.

This is the exact problem Jia Qingguo, a former dean of Peking University’s International Relations school and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, is cautioning against. As per him, China’s mindless spending on security is counterproductive; if China continues to act like this, it will sacrifice long-term interests for short-term gains and speed up to the fate of turmoil and collapse, just like the Soviet Union.

At this moment, China seems to be mirroring Japan of the 1930s. Japan was a country being run by a mindless and arrogant military. The fate of Japan and every other dictatorship is well known.

Failed Olympics Will Make Xi A Dangerous Man

China’s 20th Party Congress will be held in late 2022. Till then, Xi’s fate hangs in the balance. A successful Olympics may renew his ticket to a lifetime Presidentship, and failure will have dire consequences for China and the world.

Xi is spreading his message and intentions, loud and clear, across the globe. The Chinese ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang (and yes, this is his name), in his first major interview, openly threatened the US in particular and the world in general with war and consequences.

If Xi wins, the world is stuck with a dictator for life; if he fails, he takes the world down with him. War would be Xi’s answer to the Chinese citizens and the world. No place would be safe, be it Australia, India, Japan, Taiwan, or any other place. Xi’s speeches in the past have been uncivilized, where he talks about cracking skulls and bloodshed. The world has long ignored these apparent signs.

If successful conduct of Summer Olympics in 2008 got Xi Jinping top job, failure of 2022 Winter Olympics could take it away. If the 2008 Olympics emboldened Chinese strongman to grab power, the 2022 Olympics is his tool to consolidate his power and be ‘Dictator for Life.’

During the CCDI national conference, Xi had stated, “We are brave in turning the knife inwards, cutting through bones to get rid of the poison so as to guarantee the longevity and ceaseless strengthening of the party.” Remember Xi is the party, and the party is Xi. So, who is cancer is but obvious.

****************

Author
A veteran of the Indian Navy, Cdr Dhawan served in the Navy from 1988 to 2009. He was a Maritime Reconnaissance Pilot and a Flying Instructor. He is a geopolitical analyst and writes for various online websites and organizations.

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POST COMMENTS (28)

Wablog

Feb 14, 2022
Well analysed and beautifully narrated. Let's wait and watch how things unfold

SP Singh

Feb 14, 2022
Very perceptive n analytical article based on good background knowledge of the subject. Your views are balanced, but my take is Xi is an out out winner. He has not only gauged the pulse of his nation but withering international system as well to plan each move. Despite what the westernmedia churns out, fact remains that he has consolidated his economy, got 700 millionpeoe out of poverty. China today is leading player economically, diplomatically, digital, cyber, militarily n above all geopoltically( humongous success of BRI). This is the first time post WW2 that the West n US are rattled by meteoric rise of an Asian power n can do nothing abt it other than demonising them for human rights n authoritarinism. Despite bycot byUS n their acolytes Winter olympics is likely to be a success for Xi.

ST

Feb 13, 2022
Looks a bit like Fauci to the left of the photo. Hmmm?

ST

Feb 13, 2022
XU already is Premier for Life. Will freedom and capitalism survive the CCP?

Clarence

Feb 12, 2022
Excellent article, thanks for the inputs, we'll analysed, keep it coming !

Jas Dhali

Feb 12, 2022
Nice point of view. Good read. God Bless

Sukhjit singh

Feb 12, 2022
Great reading. Was unaware of some facts.

Judithann Campbell

Feb 12, 2022
"Xi’s speeches in the past have been uncivilized, where he talks about cracking skulls and bloodshed. The world has long ignored these apparent signs." America has long ignored these apparent signs, for sure. Thank you, Commander Dhawan, for keeping us informed!

Cdr Deepak Singh

Feb 11, 2022
Very informative. I didn't know many of the facts brought out by you. I think Xi is already the Lifetime Boss. I recollect the person who actually contributed to China's economic success. He was getting popular and I doubt if anyone knows where he is. I forget his name and I won't be able to recollect. You,I am sure, know who I am taking about. This guy will be get what he wants, even if it destroys China. I can't see a USSR type change. Waiting for your next article ☺️

Jpchitkara

Feb 11, 2022
Great article. Keep it up.

Atul

Feb 11, 2022
Nice article! Food for thought. He will ensure success of the games by tacitly coaxing smaller countries under Chinese debt or influence to participate. Even Pakistan will send it's team, besides some European nations. Africans and South east Asian countries will also acquiciece. Let USA, Japan and others don't participate.

Kuldeep

Feb 11, 2022
A great read. Covered in good details the rise n ambition of xi! Kudos

Marilee Wein

Feb 11, 2022
The timeline fuse cord is burning so the "collective might of the world" that might answer Xi, better remove their face diapers fast, such to speak clearly.

Subrata Bose

Feb 11, 2022
A well written article. China's economic might rests with the western commercial interests. Can or will China gamble with it?

Hemraj Parmar

Feb 11, 2022
Appreciate your excellent analysis. Guess invasion of Taiwan is still a couple of years away till China gains total dominance of the South China Sea. By which time new geopolitical alliances in addition to the Quad are likely to emerge. Absorption of Taiwan into the mainland might remain a pipe dream for quite some time. Total polarisation of the world against the dragon is a reality that will dictate the future international relations. Right now, the middle kingdom is under a major squeeze, both economically and politically.

NKDahiya

Feb 11, 2022
China’s Central Committee holds seven plenums every five years and its most recent, raises several questions surrounding the future of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its Chairman, Xi Jinping. Xi appears to have an ironclad grip on the CCP and China, positioning himself as the presumed leader of the country indefinitely.

Aninda Mukherjee

Feb 11, 2022
With each paper, the author and analyst excels himself. Xi deftly engages sport as a political tool. If the apprehensions of the author are real, the future of the world looks gloomy.

Archie

Feb 11, 2022
A great read.. Very good analytical view point..

Ashish Popli

Feb 11, 2022
Yet another article by Cdr Dhawan, with fine indepth understanding of the timelines and what may actually have been planned by Xi way back. While it's a net assessment of sorts...it is probably not too far off the mark. It made for an absorbing read and as always got the attention it so richly deserves. Kudos to the author.

Success or Failure: Beijing Winter Olympics Is Bad News for the World - Insightful Geopolitics

Feb 11, 2022
[…] Success or Failure: Beijing Winter Olympics Is Bad News for the World […]

Gp Capt TR Ravi VM (Ret'd)

Feb 11, 2022
I agree in saying that China seems to be mirroring Japan which was a country being run by a mindless and arrogant military. The scenarios of, if Xi wins, the world is stuck with a dictator for life and if he fails, he takes the world down with him, is a scary possible events!!!! But, we all can hope that the rest of the world powers would be mindful of this and has a befitting plan to deter an unlikely WW3. Cdr Sandeep, thanks for the excellent article.

Deovrat Pagay

Feb 11, 2022
Will it be a repeat of 2008? Unlikely. China has some questions to answer. The backdrop of COVID 19, complaints of human rights abuses and sexual assaults in the Chinese sports world… China wants to convince the world that it is now a global economic and technological power. Xi’s global ambitions is another issue… with this event he aims at proving China’s superiority in the world and reaffirm the Chinese governance system… but there is many a slip between the cup and the lip..!!!

Rajiv Gaur

Feb 11, 2022
A very well analyzed article. Xi may play a different game to retain himself in power. However rest of the world may not allow an easy take over of Taiwan. Stakes are very high. Let us wait and watch next Chinese move.

Narinder Pal Singh Hora

Feb 11, 2022
Great article, but I am still wondering if China would be foolish enough to take on collective might of world.

Vinod S

Feb 11, 2022
A great in-depth analysis of the upcoming situation. Hope world understands and wakes up to the situation

Wendell Bruges

Feb 11, 2022
This excellent article showcases the writer’s depth of knowledge of the Chinese psyche. I am still trying to grasp the Catch-22 situation world is stuck in. Success or failure of Xi, either way, the world is heading for doom. Thank you for continuously enlightening us.

Rahul Kadiyan

Feb 10, 2022
Never read something of this depth and insight.

Rakesh P

Feb 09, 2022
Good read. I hope world leaders take note of this likelihood.

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