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Chinese President Xi Jinping officially opens 2022 Winter Olympics

Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony torch
Posted at 7:28 AM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 09:28:32-05

Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially declared the 2022 Winter Olympic open as part of the Opening Ceremonies at the Oympic Stadium in Beijing.

The games open amid strict COVID-19 protocols and a diplomatic boycott from several countries, including the U.S.

The ceremonies got underway around 6:30 a.m. ET in Beijing. The ceremony opened with the national anthem of the People's Republic of China and a ceremony meant to show unity among China's ethnic groups.

Late last year, the Biden Administration announced it would not send top officials to Beijing for the Olympics, citing China's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses."

China's abuse of Muslim people in the northwest territory of Xinjiang are well documented.

During the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last summer, First Lady Jill Biden was among the White House officials who made the trip.

Following the national anthem, athletes from all countries competing filed into the stadium as part of the "Parade of Nations." Team U.S. entered the stadium just before 8 a.m. ET.

Following the parade, China will light the Olympic torch, officially opening the Games.

The Ceremonies also featured comments from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

“Dear fellow Olympians, your Olympic stage is set. You have arrived here after overcoming so many challenges," Bach said. "But now your moment has come, the moment you have been longing for, the moment we all have been longing for. Now your Olympic dream is coming true.”

According to The Associated Press, Beijing is the first city ever to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The city hosted the Summer Games in 2008.

The 2022 Winter Games are being held under strict social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Athletes and media members are severely restricted in their movements when not at events.