Beijing’s Winter Paralympics: a symbol of human rights

This article by Keith Lamb, originally published in CGTN, examines the preparations that have been made in China for the 2022 Winter Paralympics, and explores how these connect to a growing understanding in China of disability rights, along with an expanding infrastructure to support those rights.

Holding both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in Beijing is unprecedented. Also, it is no lesser an achievement that Beijing will hold both the Summer and Winter Paralympics. If the Olympics represent the harmonious bringing together of global diversity, united in the pursuit of excellence by competing for gold, then the Paralympics goes a step further by including excellence from all members of society.

Some see the Paralympics as a charitable sideshow to the Olympics but this is not the case. Even in the Olympics, athletes are separated in different divisions. The 100-metre sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica’s gold, in Tokyo 2020, is no lesser an achievement than gold in the men’s division.

Likewise, athletes in combat sports are divided by weight. Welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather would easily be floored by a “run-of-the mill” heavyweight but he is nevertheless classed, in terms of skill, as one of the best of all time.

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