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Beijing Winter Olympics

Xi declares Beijing Winter Olympics open, shrugging off boycott

China's chilly ties with U.S. and tight COVID controls loom over festivities

The Olympic flame is placed at the center of a snowflake-shaped lattice bearing the names of participating countries, at the end of the Beijing Games' opening ceremony.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- The Beijing Winter Olympics officially began on Friday, marking an international milestone for China in the shadow of COVID-19 and a U.S.-led diplomatic boycott.

The ceremony was held at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in the capital, with Chinese President Xi Jinping declaring the Games open. Due to the government's strict pandemic controls, only limited invited spectators were in attendance, with the rest of the country and world left to watch the spectacle on TV.

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