Sports

China chooses athlete with Uyghur heritage to help light cauldron

In the climactic closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, China selected two athletes – including one said to be of Uyghur heritage – to infuse the flame into the Olympic cauldron and Officially starting the Olympics.

The moment was tinged with symbolism – a man and woman working together, a nod to China’s Olympic history – but it was the choice of Dinigeer Yilamujiang, an ice skater. community, which the Chinese believe is of Uyghur origin, confronted- in one of the biggest criticisms of the country’s hostility.

The Chinese Communist Party state has launched a mass detention and re-education campaign targeting Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang that the United States has declared as genocide. That is one of the reasons that a number of countries, including the United States, have joined in diplomatic boycott of the Olympics.

Lighting the Olympic cauldron is at the heart of every opening ceremony, as the hosts invent ever more spectacular ways to ignite the blaze that always burns during the sports festival. The director of this year’s ceremony, Zhang Yimou, has promised a new show.

In the final act of the closing event, a group of six former Chinese athletes representing the past decades completed a relay race around the stadium with torches, passing the flames on to the relayers. follow. In the final, it was assigned to Yilamujiang and Zhao Jiawen, a male Nordic mixed athlete.

Walking together, they placed it in the center of a giant snowflake – another repeating symbol of the ceremony – raised in the center of the stadium.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/04/sports/olympics/cauldron-lighting-opening-ceremony-uyghur-china.html China chooses athlete with Uyghur heritage to help light cauldron

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