Why does Beijing 2022 call for Together for a Shared Future?

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Editor's Note: "Together for a Shared Future" is the official motto of the Beijing Winter Olympics. What is the meaning of the motto? How was it created? Sun Weijia, the original creator of the motto, shares his insights with China Focus. Sun Weijia is director-general of the International Exchanges and Cooperation Department of the Counselors' Office of the State Council, former director of Media Operations for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, and member of the Press Commission of IOC. The excerpts of the interview are as follow:

China Focus: What is the vision of the Olympics? Why is the vision so important for every Olympics?

Sun Weijia: The vision of the Games defines the objective and the goal of each edition of the Olympics. By the vision of the Games, the host country advances the Olympic values while emphasizing the cultural features and philosophy of this Olympics.

It is the fundamental obligation and responsibility of the host country and city to recognize and respect Olympic spirits. Since its inception a century ago, the Olympics follow the values of friendship, excellence, respect, peace, and solidarity. The essence of Olympic values, in short, is to unite all humankind for peace and friendship through sports.

Every Olympic Games carries the expectation and pursuits of the organizers. Fourteen years ago, with the motto of "One World, One Dream", Beijing 2008 Olympic Games showed us how an open China embraced the world and how a diverse world greeted China. With its vision widely recognized by the world, the 2008 Olympics marked a milestone in China's deeper integration into the world, helping offer a favorable atmosphere for China's rapid development and opening up over the next decade.

China Focus: How was the vision of Beijing 2022 finalized? Is there any requirement?

Sun Weijia: How to comply with both the overarching strategy to rejuvenate the Chinese nation and the once-in-a-century change of our times is critical when we were thinking about the motto for the Games. President Xi Jinping stated that these two pictures should be kept in mind before working. In today's world, which is radically different from 2008, the international landscape is more complicated and challenges abound. China is thus confronted with more arduous tasks in its development.

This photo taken on Mar. 4, 2020 shows a rendering of the National Sliding Center for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. The Games' bobsleigh, skeleton and luge events will take place here. (Photo/Xinhua)

First of all, the world has fallen into the worst public health crisis and economic recession since the 1930s. Western countries, particularly the United States, are obsessed with values-oriented diplomacy and even attempted to wage a new Cold War, further dividing the world. The global governance system and international order, therefore, are facing unprecedented challenges. Second, for China, now is a critical stage for the country in its march towards national rejuvenation.

The Covid-19 pandemic also significantly impacted the Olympics. In 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took an unprecedented decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics, which frustrated the Olympic Movement. After reflections, the IOC reached a consensus on how the Olympic Movement takes up the challenges. The 138th Session of the International Olympic Committee held in Tokyo on July 20, 2021, approved a change in the Olympic motto, attaching the word "together" to the original "Faster, Higher, Stronger". The new Olympic motto now reads: "Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together".

This change represents the most significant and profound enrichments made by IOC for Olympic values in recent decades. "Faster, Higher, Stronger" reflects the pursuit for physical greatness, while the addition of "Together" adds a spiritual pursuit for humanity. It reflects the IOC's wish and proposition for improving global governance through Olympic values.

For the IOC, "Together" summarizes the best pursuits of the International Olympic Movement in our days, including improving global governance, building a healthy, peaceful, diverse, inclusive, and united world. With this newly added word in the motto, the IOC expressed its support for the world's solidarity and opposition to political confrontation; advocating cooperation while opposing isolationism; encouraging diversity and inclusiveness while opposing populism; and depoliticizing sports while opposing the imposition of ideology in global governance.

Against this backdrop, Beijing Winter Olympics will surely be not only a comprehensive international sports event, but also a stage full of competing vibes between economies, cultures, geopolitics, and diplomacy. It is a window for China to show its international standing, but also brings risks to public health and security. It is, therefore, necessary to take into account the international landscape and the historical dimension before finalizing the mission and vision for the Games. With detailed plans and global publicity, the motto will make its way into the long-standing legacy of the Olympics, for China and the world at large.

Foreign volunteers pose for a group photo at Wukesong Sports Center in Beijing, Dec. 30, 2021. (Photo/Xinhua)

China Focus: How do you interpret the vision of the Beijing Winter Olympics? What are its core concepts and values?

Sun Weijia: Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics puts building "a community with a shared future for mankind" as its ultimate goal and vision. The core concept of Beijing 2022 is "solidarity". And its values are based on the Olympic spirit and global governance with the principles of "extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits".

China always agrees, actively promotes, and practices the Olympic values. The promotion of an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity is the core of building a community with a shared future for mankind proposed by President Xi Jinping. To promote global governance, we consistently follow the principles of "extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits". These ideas completely align with the concepts and values of the Olympic Movement.

So, we use the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind as a guideline to draw up the vision for Beijing 2022, which, we believe, will further enrich the Olympic values, become the permanent legacy of Beijing Winter Olympics, and part of the Olympic Movement. It will promote Olympic values in China and contribute to building a global community with a shared future. This is our core vision and pursuit for hosting a wonderful Winter Olympics.

China Focus: As the original creator of the motto, could you explain the process of its creation? Why do you believe "Together for a Shared Future" expresses the vision of the Beijing 2022? What's the relationship between the vision and the motto?

Sun Weijia: For every Olympic Games, nothing is better than a motto that can express the vision of the Olympics most briefly. After careful consideration, we proposed to use "Together for a Shared Future" as the slogan for Beijing 2022. This proposal was completely adopted by the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The motto and its connotations reflect the common points of a global community with a shared future and Olympic values. It shows that the Olympics' values are further enriched by the concept of a global community with a shared future. And the motto is the best interpretation of the vision for the Beijing Winter Olympics.

China Focus: What's the relationship between the vision of Beijing 2022 and the legacy of this Winter Olympics? How will Beijing Winter Olympics secure a permanent legacy for China and the Olympic Movement through practicing the vision of Beijing 2022?

Sun Weijia: The legacy of every Olympics is in accordance with its primary vision. For each Olympic Games, the vision means the goal and idea of the games, and the legacy is the implementation and practice of the vision and it shows the achievement of the vision.

Let us look back at history. We still remember the three famous questions raised by the Chinese people a century ago: When will China send its athletes to take part in the Olympics? When will Chinese athletes win a gold medal at the Olympics? And, when will China host the Olympic Games? Stimulated by the questions, China completely realized the dream by hosting a splendid Beijing Olympics in 2008 with the efforts of many generations. Beijing as the host city for both the Summer and Winter Olympics will make history again and expand the city's Olympic legacy.

For this time, hosting a splendid Olympics is not our only goal. We are considering the questions: What kind of permanent spiritual heritage can the city of Beijing offer to the Olympic Movement? How will Beijing Winter Olympics promote to enrich the values of Olympism? These are new questions for us to consider and answer.

The Olympic Games is the most suitable stage to practice our vision. The best way to promote the vision is to implement it through hosting the Olympics and making it the valuable legacy of the Olympics. This needs us to further study the profound meaning of the vision and concepts of the Olympics, make a scientific and systematic interpretation of its theoretical logic, and share our findings with the public widely. On the other hand, the vision of Beijing 2022 is implemented and well achieved through the process from preparation of hosting the Winter Olympics.

The Olympics are a time of celebration for all human beings and also the sports gala for the youth. "Together for a Shared Future" carries the Beijing Winter Olympics expectation of a beautiful future for the world and gives best wishes to young people across the world. Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Beijing Winter Olympics will be recorded in the history of the Olympics. The Games will symbolize a gathering of strength for young people, highlight the sports spirit of indomitability, promote the Olympic values of unity and peace, and demonstrate the faith and determination in defeating the Covid-19 pandemic together.

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