The upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics will be held primarily at two sites - Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. The two sites hardly receive any snowfall.
As a result, the Beijing Winter Olympics will be the first Winter Olympics to rely completely on artificial snow. China is using more than 2 million cubic metres of water to create the artificial snow.
Beijing is diverting around 10 percent of consumable water from a district in Zhangjiakou, which is an already arid region where most people rely on agriculture for a livelihood.
According to China Water Risk, an environmental group based in Hong Kong, more than half of Zhangjiakou is "highly water stressed".
China since 2015 has been investing heavily to turn the agricultural and rural Zhangjiakou into a tourist hub.
A Bloomberg report cites a study stating that "the push to transform Zhangjiakou will worsen the region’s severe water scarcity, which ranks among the worst in the country".
China claims that its goal is to lift the region's 430,000 residents out of poverty. Over the years Zhangjiakou has witnessed construction of seven upscale ski resorts. It receives around 3 million skiers per year. The primary driving factor behind this being the high speed train that opened in 2019, reducing the travel time between Zhangjiakou and Beijing to mere 50 minutes.
However the Chinese Communist Party's goal in reality might have less to do with poverty alleviation and more to do with vanity and the desire to show China's 'glory' to the world.
According to the report, 54 year old Ren had to relocate his home because his whole village was demolished to enable the construction of a luxury hotel. He was a farmer but he has a new job now. His work is cleaning ice off the street every morning.
"Its good we have places to work now, it just pays too little", the report quotes him. He now earns less than what he used to earn as a farmer.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!