For China, Tokyo 2020 is Just The Start of A Very Busy Two Years.

                              by David Parmer / Tokyo

There are a lot of expressions to explain the situation surrounding the Tokyo Olympics (Rescheduled) 2020. For example “up in the air”  “undecided”  “unclear” “murky” “fuzzy” “hazy” etc.

From all the news that is available from Japan and the IOC it seems that the rescheduling of the 2020 Olympics will be decided in the spring of 2021. And it seems clear that summer 2021 is “it” i.e. it is either next summer or not at all.

The other news for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 (Rescheduled) is that even if it is held, it will be scaled down in terms of fewer spectators at events and scaled-down opening and closing ceremonies. All well and good, we will just have to wait and see. But for China, there is a problem caused by this rescheduling, and it has to do with events that China will host post-Tokyo 20230.

China has a “full plate” of hosting major international sporting events in the 2021-2022 timeframe. All of these events, to one extent or another, will be affected by the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer games, and the threat of COVID-19 contamination.

The events in question are:

China 14th National Games, (Xian Xiaanxi). China’s internal Olympics are directly affected by the dates of the Tokyo games. While the schedule cannot be confirmed, the dates of August 28-September 9, 2021 have been mentioned. This timeframe would put a strain on China’s athletes who would have to compete in two major international sporting events only 10 days apart.

World Summer University Games in (Chendu, Sichuan). As many as 10,000 student athletes would compete in the games which will be held August 18-29 2021. Again, this event like the China National Games is, just 10 days after the closing of the Tokyo Olympics. Organizers are moving forward with preparations despite the uncertainty surrounding both Tokyo and the threat of continued COVID-19.

Beijing winter Olympics (Beijing and Vicinity). The winter games are a bit farther down the timeline, scheduled to be held from February 4-20, 2022. China has a lot to do to get ready to host the winter games. Also, by this time, a model for the Olympics in the time of COVID-19 should have been established at the Tokyo games. So China and the International Olympic Committee will have a “template” to work from for the winter games.

19th Asian Games 2022 (Hangzhou, Zhejiang). To be held from September 10-25, 2022. Athletes from around Asia will be competing in 37 sports in venues in one of China’s most beautiful cities. The slogan for the 19th Asian Games is “Heart to Heart,@Future” which is a tip of a hat to the digital age being able to connect people.

For the next two years China will be planning and coordinating four major sporting events with thousands of athletes and their teams and many tens of thousands of visitors from around the world. What China learns not only from managing such events, but also in holding mega-events in the post-pandemic world will be lessons well worth learning and well worth sharing.






Photo: Du Kong, via flickr

Asian Waters—China’s Venerable Grand Canal

 The Grand Canal represents the greatest masterpiece of hydraulic engineering in the history of mankind, because of its very ancient origins and its vast scale, along with its continuous development and its adaptation to circumstances down the ages. It provides tangible proof of human wisdom, determination and courage. It is an outstanding example of human creativity, demonstrating technical capabilities and a mastery of hydrology in a vast agricultural empire that stems directly from Ancient China.   (UNESCO World Heritage List)

                 by David Parmer / Tokyo

Unlike China’s other great treasure, the Great Wall, the Grand Canal is not only an historical relic, but it is also a vibrant part of China’s culture and economy, important today as it was in the 13th century. The 1776 km Hangzhou-Beijing canal, or the Grand Canal, runs from Hangzhou in Zhejiang province through Jiangsu, Shandong, and Hebei provinces. In the North, its route passes Tianjin and ends up in Beijing.


The Grand Canal was started in the late Spring and Autumn period (770-470 BC). The officially agreed upon date seems to be 486 BC. Various sections were linked together during the Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD) and the project reached completion and its near 2,000km length during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1386 AD). Today only the section from Hangzhou to Jining (see illustration above) is navigable. Some sections in the North have dried up and become impassable or are severely polluted. Historically the canal was used to transport grain from southern China to northern China. The bricks for the Forbidden City in Beijing and the timbers for the Ming Tombs also came north along the canal. Since the end of WWII it has been used to transport building materials and fuel. Estimates are that some 100,000 vessels ply the waters of the Grand Canal every year.

China’s rivers generally flow from west to east, and this is one reason why the south to north flow of the Grand Canal is so important. It not only permits the transport of goods from south to north, but also links five of China’s rivers. In addition to the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, it also links the Huaihe, Haihe and Qiantang rivers.

The Grand Canal is indeed an engineering marvel; it is 10 times longer than the Suez Canal and 22 times longer than the Panama Canal. It is also the longest artificial river in the world. The canal is 1.0m below sea level in Hangzhou but 38.5m above sea level in its modern navigational terminus and Jining in Shandong province. There are 24 locks along the river that make this possible.


In 2014, the once-neglected Grand Canal was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is valued for its cultural value as well as its ongoing contribution to China’s economy. Throughout history the canal has brought goods and culture from one part of vast China to the other. Efforts are ongoing to improve not only the maintenance of the waterway but also the communities along its way. It is clear that the Hangzhou-Beijing canal will continue to have a major influence on the region and the country in this century and for centuries to come.


UNESCO World Heritage Centre

China Daily: Multi-part video series on Grand Canal in Chinese with English subtitles



Top: China Discovery

Map: Wikipedia

Bottom: CNTO