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International Olympic Committee Chooses Beijing For 2022 Winter Games


China's capital, Beijing, became the first city in the world to be chosen to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games. It beat out a bid from Kazakhstan. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has the reaction from Beijing.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach opened the envelope with the winning bid.




KUHN: Television images showed flag-waving crowds celebrating in Beijing and the co-host city of Zhangjiakou 120 miles away, where the alpine events will be held. In a pre-taped message, President Xi Jinping said he was confident that Beijing would host a fantastic winter games.


XI JINPING: (Speaking Mandarin).

KUHN: "The Chinese government greatly admires the values of the Olympic movement," he said, "and will make good on every pledge it has made." Some human rights lawyers and activists might see it differently, but given the current government crackdown on them, many are in no position to object. Outside the iconic Bird's Nest stadium built for the 2008 games, city planner Huang Xiaolin (ph) said China is prepared to pay a high price to boost its international status.

HUANG XIAOLIN: (Through interpreter) Beijing is facing a lot of problems right now, including air pollution and things like that. Maybe there will be improvement in the next seven years, but I'm a bit pessimistic.

KUHN: Beijing's booming population is putting such a strain on resources and services that the government recently decided to limit the number of residents to 23 million. It's projected to hit that cap just two years before the winter games. Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Beijing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.