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Beijing rehearses medal ceremony ahead of Winter Games

The Beijing Winter Olympics begin in a month. Diplomatic boycotts, the coronavirus and the fate of Peng Shuai are weighing heavily on the Games. From 4 to 20 February, the Chinese capital will become the first country to host both the Winter and Summer Olympics, after hosting the 2008 Games, which were seen at the time as an end-of-year celebration for what has since become the world's second largest economy. This time, China's communist leaders hope the Games will inspire 300 million winter sports fans and help unite the world in the face of the pandemic. With the Games taking place inside a "bubble" enveloping some 3,000 athletes and non-competitors, this is the smallest mass sporting event since Covid-19. Organisers have pledged to make the Games "green, inclusive, open and clean", but environmentalists question this claim and smog remains a frequent hazard in China, especially in winter.