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China to consider social sustainability in venue plans for winter Games – official

Organisers of the 2022 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in the Chinese capital of Beijing will weigh up social sustainability risks before deciding on development projects for the showpiece event, according to a leading official from the country’s Communist Party.

Hou Liang, a member of the party in the nearby city of Zhangjiakou, which is scheduled to host the Games alongside Beijing, has insisted that organisers will assess the financial consequences of major construction projects before giving them the go-ahead.

Writing in the Study Times newspaper, Hou said that organisers would “carry out social stability risk assessments before approval for large-scale construction projects (and) broadly accept oversight from society.”

Hou added that “red lines” would be drawn on financial management to minimise the risk of overspending and insisted that “respect for discipline and upholding the law” would remain a priority.

Organisers have already endured a number of issues ahead of the event in six years' time, with former Deputy Sports Minister Xiao Tan accused of corruption and air pollution remaining a key concern in Beijing, which hosted the 2008 summer Games.

The city was issued with its first ‘red alert’ over air pollution last December as smog enveloped the Chinese capital, although officials quickly moved to downplay concerns.

Beijing was awarded hosting rights to the 2022 Games in July last year ahead of Almaty in Kazakhstan. It will become the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics. PyeongChang in South Korea will host the next edition of the winter Games in 2018.